James ready for a major club, insists Pekerman

The 64-year-old has nothing but praise for the attacking midfielder, stating he can make the next step up, and has warned his men not to take Cote d'Ivoire lightly
By Stefan Coerts in Brasilia

Colombia coach Jose Pekerman believes James Rodriguez has what it takes to succeed at a major club and feels the Monaco star has made a lot of progress in the past few seasons.

The 22-year-old impressed in Colombia's 3-0 win over Greece on matchday one, scoring once and playing a part in another goal as well, and Pekerman has no doubt the attacking midfielder is destined to end up at one of Europe's biggest clubs.

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"It’s difficult to say whether James would be a good player for a team like Barcelona," Pekerman said at a press conference ahead of their second group game against Cote d'Ivoire on Thursday.

"He is a player on the rise and he has been growing and maturing, both at his club and at the national team.

"I think he has what it takes to play at a major team. He doesn’t need a good World Cup. It’s a great feeling to have him in the team.

"We will do everything to get the best out of James. We have to help him and give him the chance to get the ball and give him the space he needs. We want to maintain our own style with a lot of intensity and do a good job."

Pekerman then went on to stress that Cote d'Ivoire should not be taken lightly as Colombia aim to make it two wins out of as many games.

"Cote d'Ivoire have some great invidual players. We all know Gervinho, [Didier] Drogba and Yaya Toure and they have a great spine. And then there’s [Serge] Aurier who created both goals against Japan. They have plenty of quality.

"They are an experienced team and obviously we want to make things hard for them. We want to show all of our qualities.

"It will be a balanced game and the outcome will depend on the motivation of the players. Cote d'Ivoire showed in the previous game that they are ready to fight for a spot in the next round.

"A very difficult match against an experienced opponent awaits. There was a lot of pressure on our opening game against Greece, but we are now focusing on the next game."