Andros Townsend believes Crystal Palace face a daunting task when they come up against an Everton side boasting the ‘world class’ James Rodriguez this weekend, while speaking to Laura Woods on talkSPORT (23 September, 9.30am).
If Tottenham fans are worried about Gareth Bale’s ability to shake off the rust after escaping his Real Madrid nightmare, James’ stunning start to life at Goodison Park should give those in north London plenty of hope.
The Colombian play-maker actually started fewer La Liga games than Bale at the Bernabeu last season (five compared to 12).
But, just two games into his Premier League career, James already looks a man reborn under a coach who got the best out of him during that stellar 2014/15 season in Madrid.
One of the finest free signings in modern football history offered tantalising glimpses of his exceptional talent during the 1-0 opening day win at Tottenham before ripping West Brom apart on Saturday, scoring his first Everton goal in a thumping 5-2 win.
“(Everton have) one of the best managers in the world, one of the best players in the world,” Townsend says as Palace prepare to host the 2014 World Cup Golden Boot winner on Saturday.
“Everton seem to spend a lot of money every summer and they don’t seem to start the season well. What they’ve done this year is they have got a world class manager in, they have got a world class player in James, for example, and Premier League players like (Abdoulaye) Doucoure.
“They’ve added important players in positions they needed (to strengthen). They’ve started frighteningly well.
“He’s won everything there is to win in football, Ancelotti. You know that, if you give him money, he’s going to spend it right and so far he has done that.”
With Doucoure and the tireless Allan doing the dirty work behind him, James is thriving in a free role which allows him to show off his pinpoint passing range and cutting-edge creativity.
If those first two appearances are anything to go by, the three-time Champions League winner looks a player capable of making a transformative impact at Goodison Park.
Everton’s opening fixtures of the 2020/21 season
West Brom (H)
Crystal Palace (A)