The playmaker has only started seven La Liga matches this season and has regularly been linked with a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu.
And James feels he is able to play to his strengths more with Colombia than during his appearances for Madrid.
With Madrid, the Colombia captain finds he often has to be safer in possession while playing in a midfield three.
"With Colombia I play a little freer, that is where I try to help," he said to Blue Radio.
"Instead, at Real I am in a row of three midfielders. We knock it around a bit then pass it back. It is a different role.
"I have told [Colombia head coach] Jose Pekerman that if I have to play somewhere else to help the team, then I will also have to still be able to do the good things I do myself."