Everton Q&A: will Marcel Brands give an interview, what happens with James Rodriguez now and top-six challenge

Everton director of football Marcel Brands. Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty ImagesEverton director of football Marcel Brands. Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
Everton director of football Marcel Brands. Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images | Getty Images
Our football writer answers your questions on the biggest talking points surrounding Goodison Park.

The end of the international break means all eyes will very much be back on the Premier League this weekend, with Everton hosting Burnley on Monday evening (19.45 BST).

Ahead of the upcoming round of fixtures, we’ve asked our football writer Will Rooney to cast his eyes over fans’ most pressing questions at Goodison Park.

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Q. What happens with James Rodriguez now and will Everton look to sell him in January?

A. The protracted speculation is at least parked for a few months after the Turkish transfer window shut on Wednesday.

If reports are true, Rodriguez turned down a move to Istanbul Basaksehir as he didn’t fancy it.

Benitez might not have wanted to keep him, but the Colombian is here until at least January now.

He’s not been frozen out either and has been smiling in photos during training after returning from holiday during the international break.

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Everton’s James Rodriguez. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty ImagesEverton’s James Rodriguez. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Everton’s James Rodriguez. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images | Getty Images

In truth, it would be folly for Benitez to now condemn Rodriguez to train on his own or the under-23s.

He’s a mercurial talent who, on his day, can produce the sort of magic not many in the Premier League can.

Rodriguez might not be a regular starter under Benitez but off the bench, he’s a potent weapon. As an option as a substitute, they don’t come much better - especially when playing sides who deploy a low block and a moment of brilliance is required to find a breakthrough.

As for January, we’ll wait and see. Football’s a funny game - Rodriguez could well have fought his way back into Benitez’s plans by then. Stranger things have happened.

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After all, the ex-Real Madrid playmaker needs to be playing regularly if he’s to be selected for the 2022 World Cup.

Q. Will Marcel Brands give an interview about the summer transfer window?

A. There has been a lot of clamour from supporters for this to happen, especially after Everton failed to sign a right-back on transfer deadline day.

People have pinpointed that Edu, who is Arsenal’s technical director, came out and spoke about the Gunners’ dealings with the club media channel and Sky Sports.

Everton Women’s sporting director, Sarvar Ismailov, has also discussed their business conducted with the in-house media team.

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But, in truth, it’s a bit late now for Brands to come out and speak.

Everton director of football Marcel Brands. Picture: Nathan Stirk/Getty ImagesEverton director of football Marcel Brands. Picture: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images
Everton director of football Marcel Brands. Picture: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images | Getty Images

Usually, those sorts of things happen immediately after the transfer window while the iron is hot.

It’s worth noting that Rafa Benitez hasn’t had a press conference since deadline day due to the international break. He’ll be asked over not recruiting a right-back among other things ahead of the Burnley game.

Even still it would be good to hear what happened behind the scenes from the Toffees’ director of football, who is at the heart of transfer dealings.

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Everton’s recruitment was obviously hamstrung by financial fair play rules and the various high-earners who are under contract eating up funds.

But to receive an in-depth update from Brands would keep supporters abreast of the situation.

Q. Who will cover at right-back if Seamus Coleman is out for a sustained period?

A. It was inevitable that Coleman would get injured on international duty with the Republic of Ireland after Everton didn’t get someone to cover in the transfer window, wasn’t it?

Coleman’s setback might not be too serious but there’s normally caution with hamstring problems. He might not be risked against Burnley on Monday.

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The recognised replacement is Jonjoe Kenny. However, he didn’t exactly have a fruitful loan spell with Celtic last season and one Everton would have offloaded in the summer if the right offer came in.

Jonjoe Kenny is down the pecking order at Everton. Picture: Nathan Stirk/ Getty Images Jonjoe Kenny is down the pecking order at Everton. Picture: Nathan Stirk/ Getty Images
Jonjoe Kenny is down the pecking order at Everton. Picture: Nathan Stirk/ Getty Images | Getty Images

The other option is to have a square peg in a round hole and put either Ben Godrey or Mason Holgate there.

I’ve never been fully convinced by Holgate on the flank. And with Benitez wanting lots of crosses into the box, will he be able to deliver?

Purely for his athletic prowess, I’d go with Godfrey - but he’s yet to play this season and will need to get up to speed.

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Q. Should Everton be looking at a top-six finish after starting the season so well?

A. It’s been an opening to the campaign that was paramount for Benitez and he has swiftly won over a lot previous detractors.

There’s been an identity, steeliness and passion installed into the team - something that’s been lacking for a good few years amid the manager merry-go-round.

Seven points from nine is a fine tally but let’s not get carried away too soon. The plan was to make steady progress in Benitez’s first season given the challenges he walked into and finish higher than 10th.

Of the protagonists chasing European football, only Arsenal have had a lacklustre start so it’s going to be competitive.

However, you can’t help but be optimistic about the remaining 35 games. Who wants to set low ambitions?

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