It would be fair to say that nobody expected James Rodríguez to be as good as he was during the 2014-2015 season. Real Madrid paid close to €80 million for his signing while most fans and pundits argued that the team didn't need him with Isco on the roster. Still, the Colombian was one of the most important players for Madrid last season and he entered this new campaign being an undisputed starter and one of the team's cornerstones.
James didn't start the season well, however. He was out of shape and his touch wasn't there. Isco was in a similar situation, so it appeared that Benítez simply could not find the proper system for his attacking midfielders. Zidane has taken over and suddenly Isco has been an important player again and James finds himself behind the Spaniard in the rotation, and deservedly so.
Zidane and James were caught on camera having a bit of an argument during last Sunday's win against Sporting. When Bale got injured, Zidane told James and Jesé to start warming up. Jesé ended up getting the nod and James stopped his exercises without being told so. Zidane then tried to find him on the sideline and realized that the Colombian player was sitting on the bench already, so the manager asked James why he had stopped and told him to warm up again. Later, James was visibly uncomfortable when Zidane was giving him the instructions as the Colombian was ready to step on the pitch. You can watch the whole sequence here.
James' isn't a focused player right now and that's the main reason why the board is worried. It's something beyond tactics, Xs and Os. The Colombian press is starting to suggest this exact same thing as W Radio reporter Iván Mejía said that James "does not train well, he has lost his sense of proportion. He goes out every night, he goes 200 km/h with his car and he is not humble anymore." Mejía also added that James "will be a one-hit-wonder if he doesn't start taking training sessions more seriously." The report said that Ramos, Cristiano Ronaldo and James "sabotaged Benítez's plans" as the Colombian "wants to be around Cristiano Ronaldo at all times and be one of his protegees."
Gareth Bale's calf injury will most likely give James a chance to start and regain some confidence. It's up to him to make the best of that opportunity and bring back the star player he was a year ago.