'James is an important player' - Bayern boss Kovac dismisses Rodriguez rift talk

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The German champions' coach rejected the suggestion his team are in a state of crisis following a three-game winless streak

Niko Kovac insisted James Rodriguez remains valued at Bayern Munich as he played down rumours of dressing-room unrest.

Reports in Germany suggest star midfielder James has grown impatient with a lack of opportunities amid the club's unconvincing start under their new head coach.

The 27-year-old Colombia international has started two of six matches in the Bundesliga and was brought on beyond the hour mark in the midweek Champions League draw with Ajax, after which it was claimed he stormed off from Allianz Arena.

Those reports and a troubling three-match winless run have added up to a testing period for Kovac, who deflected talk of a crisis and assured James his time will come.

"We have a lot of international players. There will always be cases where one player plays and another doesn't," Kovac told a news conference.

"James is a player of extraordinary quality and is important for the club. He's proved that several times, but I can't play with 12 men. He will play as many games as others.

"Some are, of course, disappointed not to play, and we're also disappointed with recent results. Nevertheless, there is a real sense of unity in the team. The atmosphere is positive."

Kovac's cause was not helped in the aftermath of the Ajax match when club president Uli Hoeness said the Croatian was "putting his neck on the line" by implementing regular rotation.

The Bayern boss took a relaxed view of the comments, stating they were meant as constructive advice.

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"I talked to Hoeness and it wasn't criticism," he said. "I wouldn't call it big rotation. We have a lot of good players and we have been successful at it.

"We're playing every three days. That alone is demanding, and our opponents are playing with a lot of intensity too. We need to have some fresh legs on the pitch and avoid picking up any more injuries."

Bayern received some good news ahead of Saturday's hosting of Borussia Monchengladbach with Mats Hummels cleared to play after a sustaining a head knock against Ajax.

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