Soccer-Rodriguez out of Colombia squad for Copa America

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FILE PHOTO: Premier League - Everton v Tottenham Hotspur

(Reuters) -James Rodriguez criticised the Colombian Football Federation on Friday after being cut from the squad for the Copa America and two World Cup qualifiers in June, with the Everton midfielder saying he would be fit enough to play in the tournament.

The federation earlier said Rodriguez was "not at the optimum level of competition" and would not join coach Reinaldo Rueda’s squad either for the Copa America that starts on June 13 or the Qatar 2022 qualifiers away in Peru on June 3 and at home to Argentina five days later.

Rodriguez, however, said that while he may not be at full fitness for the Peru game he would be fit to face Argentina and "of course ready for the Copa America".

"It was with surprise that I received the statement from the backroom team saying they would not be able to count on me and wishing me a speedy recovery," Rodriguez said.

"I have already recovered and sacrificed a lot."

"It filled me with great disappointment," he added. "Not having the confidence of the technical staff causes me a huge sadness."

The federation's statement did not specify what the injury was, but the Everton player has missed several games this season with a calf problem.

Colombia were meant to co-host the Copa America with Argentina but civil unrest there prompted the South American Football Confederation to remove them as joint hosts.

No decision has been taken on where to play the 15 games that were scheduled for Colombia.

(Reporting by Andrew DownieEditing by Toby Davis)

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