By Carl Markham, PA
James Rodriguez has expressed his surprise and “deep disappointment” at being dropped from Colombia’s squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers and the Copa America.
The Everton playmaker said not having the confidence of national team boss Reinaldo Rueda “generated enormous pain” after the medical department ruled he was not fit enough to be involved.
Rodriguez had flown home early, 24 hours before the Toffees’ final match of the season at Manchester City last Sunday, after a calf problem meant he featured just once in the last six games.
In the last month of the season Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti had regularly said Rodriguez was close to a comeback but he managed just one 78-minute appearance in the home defeat to Sheffield United on May 16th.
The Italian then released Rodriguez early, so he could go back to Colombia to finish his recovery knowing he wanted to be ready for qualifiers against Peru and Argentina ahead of the Copa America, which the player will miss for the first time since his international debut in 2011.
“I would like to express my thoughts and feelings in the face of the decision taken by the technical team of the Colombia team,” said Rodriguez in a statement posted on Twitter, in which he stated he expected to miss the Peru game on June 4th but be available for Argentina five days later.
“Enough time has been taken to integrate (me) into the full range of conditions for football practice and this way it will not affect my participation in the next fixtures of our national team.
“With surprise I receive the statement from the main technical body stating that they do not count on me and wishing me a full recovery.
“(This) has me deeply disappointed. Failing to receive the confidence of the technical team breaks with everything and generates an enormous pain.”
Rodriguez managed just 26 appearances for Everton in his maiden season as he was dogged by a calf injury.
He missed virtually the entirety of December and six weeks from the end of February.
On arrival in his homeland last week he underwent an assessment and Colombia’s medical deemed him not fit enough.
“In recent days, the midfielder was subjected to medical examinations, which determined that he is not at the optimal level of competition, therefore, he will not be able to join the group called by Reinaldo Rueda,” said a national team statement.
“The coach and his (backroom) team regret not being able to count on James Rodríguez this time and hope that soon the midfielder will be able to be part of selection, representing our country with the height and professionalism as he has always done.”