Former Premier League striker turned pundit Darren Bent has apologised for recent comments about Everton signing James Rodriguez, admitting he was wrong to doubt the midfielder’s quality.
The 29-year-old has provided a much needed spark to Carlo Ancelotti’s squad and provided a goal and assist in his home debut against West Brom making it two wins from two for the Blues in the Premier League so far.
Arriving from Real Madrid, some dismissed what the former World Cup Golden Boot winner could bring to Goodison Park, including Darren Bent who, early in the new campaign, has been made to eat their words.
Speaking on talkSPORT, Bent said: “Do you know what? I am going to hold my hands up here.
“I was one of the ones that said that he would really struggle, Rodriguez, and Everton fans, I apologise. I said that I thought that he would struggle.
“In the first two games of the season, he has been absolutely superb, and he looks like maybe a bargain of a deal.”
Rodriguez has linked up with Ancelotti for the third time in his club career, as the manager recently tried to explain just how he is able to consistently get the best performances out of the Colombian.
Bent however, hasn’t been the only naysayer over Rodriguez’s abilities.
Ex-Sky Sports pundit Richard Keys has also, perhaps unsurprisingly, been vocal about his doubts.
In a blog post ahead of the game against Tottenham he wrote: “Anything other than a top half finish would be a total failure. Having appointed Ancelotti they had to back him, but I’m not convinced by James Rodriguez. If he was top drawer he wouldn’t be signing for Everton, whoever was in charge.
“I wouldn’t fancy him at Stoke on a wet Tuesday evening in November, but he’ll look great when the Toffees are 2-up at home. For Everton to make an impact, he’s GOT to dominate games.
“If I was Ancelotti I’d be going after Troy Deeney. That’s what Everton need – Reid and Gray again. Deeney would be fantastic around the club. Like Jagielka, he’s a ‘proper’ bloke.”
Everton are not after Troy Deeney, with first choice striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin having scored four goals in two games and the Blues having spent on Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure to bolster the starting lineup.
But after the impressive 1-0 victory against Jose Mourinho’s Spurs, Keys had a slightly different tone on Rodriguez – albeit only slightly.
In another blog entry he poised: “Everton looked good [vs Spurs]. James Rodriguez will become a firm favourite at Goodison. He was neat and tidy but I don’t think he affected a great deal. That’s what I expect most weeks.”
If Everton’s latest favourite keeps up his scoring and assist making though, Keys might also be issuing a Darren Bent-like apology before too long.