James Rodriguez: Everton shoot down Colombia injury fears after Copa America squad snub

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 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Everton insist that James Rodriguez is fit to play at the Copa America despite claims from the Colombia camp that the midfielder was left out due to injury concerns.

A club-versus-country disagreement has emerged with Colombia manager Reinaldo Rueda dropping James for the forthcoming Copa tournament because of concerns over his recovery from a calf injury.

At a press conference in Colombia, Rueda said the decision had been taken after assessing his medical report which included information provided by Everton.

However, Everton's director of medical Danny Donachie said that James had departed Merseyside last weekend with the recommendation he sat out World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Argentina in order to be fit for the Copa America.

"It was a very small injury at the end of the season and we had no issues at all with James joining up with Colombia," Donachie told Everton’s website.

"He was hoping to play in the two qualifiers and the only discussion we had with the Colombian FA was whether that was a good idea, or whether it would be more prudent to prepare him for the tournament.

"We agreed he would be fully fit, without any questions, for the start of the Copa America.

"We spoke about his rehab and they agreed to continue the process but there was never a doubt in our mind he would be in top condition in time for the tournament.

"I have seen the tests carried out by Colombia and there is nothing in them to say he is not going to be fit for that competition.

"We track every player individually and have information on every element of their physical condition and performance.

"And, in terms of this particular injury, there would have been no long-term risk in him playing the Copa America."

However, Rueda insisted that was not the case.

"Prior to the Federation's statement, I met with James by telephone for the results of the exams and to review the information exchanged by the doctor of the Colombian national team and Everton regarding the presence of James," he said.

"That is why I told James I made the decision to disengage him from selection for him to make his recovery accordingly so he can enjoy a full pre-season with his club and we can have him in the next few squads."

The positive for Everton is the player, who made just 26 appearances and played just once in the last six matches of the campaign due to injury, will return to pre-season training earlier than expected on July 5.

Additional reporting by PA.

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