Gareth Barry has likened James Rodriguez’s Everton debut to the early days of former Manchester City team-mate David Silva.
The former Toffees midfielder – who retired from football this summer after being released by this weekend’s opponents West Brom – was impressed with the Columbian superstar’s quick adaptation to the physicality of the Premier League.
Barry will feature during BT Sport coverage of the Everton v West Brom clash this weekend and spoke exclusively to RadioTimes.com about the impact of Rodriguez on his old team.
When asked how crucial it was for Rodriguez to back up his talent with a desire to get stuck in, Barry said: “It’s very important. I liken it to David Silva’s first few games.
“People were doubting his quality in the Premier League because he didn’t seem big enough. Rodriguez is that similar type of player and size, he didn’t seem fazed by that first game at all.
“Obviously there are going to be different challenges, different defenders up against him, but I like the initial start he’s made. He’s not going to go away and hide, he’s up for the fight.”
Rodriguez made five key passes during his debut, more than any other player in the Premier League across the opening weekend of the season.
The 29-year-old fell out of favour at Real Madrid and has a point to prove in England after making a shock summer switch to Goodison Park.
Barry already feels like he is a great fit for the club. He said: “He’s going to excite the Everton fans. There was always going to be that worry of ‘can he adapt to the Premier League? Is he going to be able to deal with the physical side?’ because he’s not the biggest of players.
“That was the one thing I was looking for in his performance against Tottenham. Davies the left-back was getting right up against him, testing him to see if he was up for it.
“For me, his quality was always going to be there but the way he dealt with it and wasn’t fazed from the contact, from the physical side of it, he’s not going to hide.
“A fantastic start for him and the signs are really good, I’m hopeful he can add that consistency to the obvious quality he’s got.”
Everton host West Brom this weekend in a bid to build on a strong start to their 2020/21 campaign, and they will hope to do so in front of the BT Sport cameras.
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