Andres Villas-Boas has advised Real Madrid to play James Rodriguez as a No.10 and give him the freedom of the park.
James played under Villas-Boas at Porto and the former Tottenham Hotspur Coach, now at Zenit St Petersburg, has looked back on his time working with the Colombia international.
“We were looking for a creative player who could play from the wing to give us something different,” Villas-Boas told Marca.
“We had very high expectations of him but we signed him with the clear intention of gradually developing the player and not with the expectation he would explode that soon.
“He was introverted and shy, anarchic in the field and irresponsible when defending and pressing when we lost the ball.
“We talked a lot with the other Colombians [Radamel Falco and Fredy Guarin] so he would work better in training and be more demanding of himself.”
Villas-Boas added that when an injury to Falcao offered Porto the chance to re-jig the team and give James more playing time, he came into his own.
“In no time he took a starting role and showed more. His problems were always on the defensive because he had talent, a final pass and vision that he always showed,” he continued.
“We gave him freedom on the pitch. He moved inward to the No.10 position but his play on the wings also improved.”
Asked if he expects James to succeed at Santiago Bernabeu, Villas-Boas replied that he certainly has the characteristics liked by Madrid.
“I think he meets all the conditions to suit the demands of Madrid and the pressure of a club like that,” the ex-Chelsea boss confirmed.
“I say this because of the way he faces life and the steps taken in quite a natural way. I know they will help in his adaptation.
“He is very gentle and I’m sure he’ll be well received by his teammates, which will certainly help.
“James has a contagious smile and when he trusts people he can be very ironic but always treating people well.”