The Colombian continues to be linked with clubs in Italy and Spain after an impressive debut season at Goodison Park.
Benitez told reporters when asked about James: "At the beginning of the pre-season, it is not easy.
"I think you can see he has the quality on the ball but still his fitness is not what we are expecting, so it is normal at this time.
"So, we will see, obviously, we have more training sessions and more games so we will see how he is going on and every player. It depends on them, if they can make a difference or not.
"But at the moment it is seeing how they progress and how they can improve but nobody can argue about the quality of James."
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