Colombia coach Jose Pekerman sees similarities between Edwin Cardona and James Rodriguez.
Monterrey midfielder Cardona, who has scored eight goals in 10 Liga MX appearances so far this season, was drafted into Colombia’s starting line-up for their World Cup 2018 qualification fixture with Peru with James absent due to injury.
Cardona opened his Colombia account with a stoppage-time strike in the 2-0 victory in Barranquilla, and his coach has likened the early stages of his international career to that of the Real Madrid star.
“Cardona’s youth and his start remind me of the early days of James,” Pekerman said.
“You cannot compare their games by the way he moves, but in the technical and conceptual aspects of football they are very similar.”
Colombia face Uruguay – who will be without strikers Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani – in the second round of fixtures in CONMEBOL qualifying on Tuesday.
Uruguay boss Oscar Tabarez recently dismissed the importance of the loss of James to Pekerman’s side, with the Colombia coach adding: “There is value in Tabarez’s comments, but we know what James has done with Colombia – he is a player who has given so much.
“But both us and Uruguay showed what we can do in the last game. Hopefully we can repeat that [without James].”
Pekerman selected Carlos Bacca and Teofilo Gutierrez in attack for the clash with Peru, leaving misfiring Chelsea forward Radamel Falcao and Atletico Madrid’s Jackson Martinez on the bench.
The 66-year-old admitted he was taking form into account when choosing who to deploy in attack.
“I have always said that the attackers Colombia have are all very important, capable of great performances and scoring goals,” Pekerman continued.
“We have to consider the moments of each. We know there are ups and downs in a footballer’s career, there are good runs and bad runs, and this must be taken into account.
“The capabilities of the strikers needs no discussion. There will be no change for the sake of change.”