Everton beat Burnley 3-1 on Monday night, the the goals flowing despite James Rodriguez still being on the outside looking in.
The Toffees did fall behind to a Ben Mee header, and had to rally themselves to get back into the game.
Everton then went and scored three goals in six minutes. Michael Keane, Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray all found the net to give Rafael Benitez’s side the win.
Townsend and Gray continue to excel after their summer moves, and one incredible stat has emerged about them.
Gray and Townsend sprinting away from Everton misfit James
BBC Sport covered a pretty alarming stat this week. They noted that James Rodriguez recorded 37 sprints for the whole of last season.
That number came across 23 league outings. On average, that’s around 1.6 sprints per game.
The stat added that Gray and Townsend were just one and two sprints shy before facing Burnley.
Before the Burnley game, Grew had recorded 36 sprints in three games, averaging 12 a game. Townsend was on 35 from three games, meaning his average was similar.
The Everton duo passed that mark on Monday, posting numbers that highlight the difference between them and James.
Benitez is changing Everton
Carlo Ancelotti was happy to have others around James doing the sprinting.
Ancelotti admitted to Marca last year that Rodriguez simply wouldn’t run up and down for 90 minutes.
James was given the freedom to roam and focus on creating rather than running and pressing.
Add in that James has suffered with injuries, and playing with that intensity just wouldn’t have worked.
That’s where the problem comes now. Benitez wants his side to run for 90 minutes, providing the intensity that Everton fans connect with.
Gray and Townsend will do it. Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan will do it. Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison will do it.
It seems unlikely that James will do it. James was a major coup for Everton, but he just doesn’t seem to fit Benitez’s side right now – and seeing him starting any time soon seems a little hard to imagine.