Zidane: James will get his chance to shine

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

The an­kle prob­lem which is to keep Gareth Bale out of Real Madrid ac­tion un­til 2017 will serve as a chance for James Ro­driguez to play a part, ac­cord­ing to Zinedine Zidane.

Bale will un­dergo surgery next Tues­day on his an­kle but is un­likely to re­turn for a while, leav­ing the Colom­bian to fill his boots.

Zidane urged the play­maker to make the most of the op­por­tu­nity and warned him he would be un­wise to seek a trans­fer in Jan­uary due to his lack of play­ing time so far this sea­son.

"The door is al­ways open to ev­ery­one and now James is ready to play," Zidane told re­porters. "I don't think it is true that he never plays and I don't agree that he hasn't had chances.

"I do think he should stay at this great club. Some­times it takes time but it isn't a mat­ter of [his] at­ti­tude, I sim­ply have to make de­ci­sions.

"He will play and is go­ing to re­ceive min­utes. He is a very good player and we all know what he can bring.

"He wants to play more and that's un­der­stand­able, but for me, he is a ma­jor player."

Ahead of Satur­day's en­counter with Sport­ing Gi­jon, Bale was joined on the treat­ment ta­ble by Raphael Varane and Fabio Coen­trao.

The pair are ac­com­pa­nied on the side­lines by Toni Kroos and Al­varo Mo­rata as the in­jury wor­ries con­tinue to in­crease for the French coach.

"It is com­pli­cated," sighed Zidane. "The peo­ple who work here do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble but some­times, there are things that you can do noth­ing about.

"Of course you are up­set when you lose a player like Bale but all that we can do is to con­tinue go­ing on our way.

"Zidane also took the op­por­tu­nity to sin­gle out mid­fielder Ma­teo Ko­vacic for spe­cific praise, with the for­mer In­ter man com­ing in from the cold as a re­sult of in­juries to im­press for the Cham­pi­ons League hold­ers.

"The key has al­ways been to work hard," added Zidane. "He has done that and was al­ways avail­able to us when­ever we needed to use him.

"He was sim­ply wait­ing for his chance. It isn't easy when you aren't play­ing a lot and in fact, it's quite dif­fi­cult, but he has come in and played very well for us."

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