James Rodriguez, the Golden Boy of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, arrived at Everton at the start of this season amid much fanfare. He had a stellar start with the club, helping them to briefly holding the top spot in the Premier League before eventually hitting a plateau. Now that some of the bigger teams are taking control, James is facing a reality check about what it's really like to be in the Premier League spotlight.
On Saturday, Everton faced Burnley and and only managed a 1-1 draw. This came after a 1-0 loss against Leeds United the week before. Neither James nor his teammates have been performing as well as they did at the start of the season, but the Colombian still had some moments of brilliance.
Against Burnley, he showed off a nutmeg and made what could have been a match-winning pass to Gylfi Sigurdsson, who unfortunately didn't manage to secure the goal. It was a missed chance to gain three points against one of the weaker teams in the league.
It has only been a few months into the season and James is now seeing how quickly English fans and media can turn against a player. He arrived as a "steal" from Spanish champions Real Madrid, who were unable to utilise his full potential.
An impressive first few matches for Everton had the media praising the Colombian as the best transfer deal of the summer. Now, the comments are not as pleasant as they once were.
According to Marca, Irishman David Connolly said, "He has unquestionable ability, but he never runs back. He just waits for the ball. He's not at Real Madrid now, where you have 60 percent of the ball. Here you have to run for 90 minutes."
Ex-Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy also had some harsh comments about the Colombian. "The best sides will have seen how unwilling he is to track back, and they can exploit that on his side," he said.
James is now facing a reality check in England, and will have to do his best to cope with the mounting pressure and criticism. Comparisons have been made with fellow ex-Real Madrid player Mesut Ozil, who enjoyed a stellar start with Arsenal before eventually becoming a virtual outcast.