PREMIER LEAGUE

I would have signed Usain Bolt instead! Ancelotti not worried by James' lack of pace

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti hailed "dangerous" James Rodriguez after the Colombian playmaker impressed on his Premier League debut.

I would have signed Usain Bolt instead!  Ancelotti not concerned by James' lack of pace

Carlo Ancelotti is not concerned by new signing James Rodriguez's lack of pace and physicality, joking he would have signed sprinter Usain Bolt instead if that was a priority.

The Colombia playmaker impressed for Everton in Sunday's 1-0 win over Tottenham alongside fellow debutants Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure.

James played five key passes, more than any other player on the field at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and also topped the charts with four interceptions.

Asked after the game if he was worried James needs time to adapt to the pace of the Premier League, Ancelotti quipped eight-time Olympic gold medallist who dabbled with football in retirement would have been on his radar if that was the case.

Ancelotti on James

"I am not worried about the physicality. If I was worried about that I would sign Usain Bolt, not James," he told Sky Sports.

"James is not the fastest player in the world but he has a lot of quality. We have to use him to show his quality. 

"He is not a winger, but he can come inside and receive the ball, he is very dangerous.

"The players that can play football, they don't need a lot of time to adapt. James knows what he has to do, Allan and [Abdoulaye] Doucoure the same.

"I just said show your quality and they did. We had a good combination in midfield. Last season we had players with quality on the ball but you also have to play without the ball."

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the only goal of the game as Everton picked up a deserved opening-game victory against Tottenham.

Ancelotti is targeting a top-six finish in the Premier League this season and believes his side showed they can achieve that aim with their display in north London.

"I am pleased for the performance - it was an important performance," he said at his post-match news conference. 

"This is what we wanted to do, to show we can compete - that is the most important message. We can compete with everyone if the attitude and spirit is good.

"The second half we had more control of the game. We were comfortable with and without the ball and in the end I think we deserved to win."