Colombia legend Carlos Valderrama tips Porto's James Rodriguez to be his successor

The retired midfielder heaped praise on the gifted winger, whom he believes will need to be nurtured and supported for his true potential to grow in the national side
Colombia legend Carlos Valderrama says he expects his place in the national team to be occupied by Porto winger James Rodriguez.

The 20-year-old has been playing a central role at the Europa League holders this term after enduring a difficult first season at the club.

James Rodriguez impressed for Colombia's Under-20 squad at the Toulon Tournament and the Fifa World Cup, which earned him a place in the senior side.

The former Banfield attacker was voted the man of the match on his debut for Leonel Alvarez's side in a 2-1 victory against Bolivia last month, and Valderrama expects the youngster to assume the role he left vacant in 1998, when he retired from international football.

"Colombia do not need an 'El Pibe' [Valderrama's nickname]," he told reporters. "James is doing very well in that position.

"We have to support him because he is motivated and he needs support as I believe we have some player here."

The 50-year-old noted there are not many differences between Colombia's current team and the one which he was part of.

"As far as football is concerned, both teams are very similar," Valderrama added. "They [the current team] still lack some playing time together, but they are on the right track."

Colombia host Venezuela in their next Conmebol World Cup qualifer this Friday before entertaining Argentina on Tuesday.