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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Real Madrid's James Rodriguez: I want to help Colombia earn six points

Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez has said he is keeping "a winning mentality" as he prepares to lead Colombia in their 2018 World Cup qualifying matches later this month against Bolivia and Ecuador.

The attacking midfielder said he enjoys the added freedom he gets on the field when playing for his country, but also added that it means greater responsibility.

"These are two key games, vital to our future and we have to try to win all six points, that is the mentality that I am bringing as I think we all are," he told Blu Radio. "We want to win and we know it is going to be tough but not impossible."

The Colombia team captain said the tactics and style of play are dictated to him by coach Zinedine Zidane at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu but he is given more licence under Jose Pekerman.

"[With Colombia] I play a little freer, that's where I try to help," Rodriguez said. "At Real I am in a row of three midfielders instead. We knock it around a bit then pass it back. It's a different role.

"I have told Jose [Pekerman] that if I have to play somewhere else to help the team, then I'll also have to still be able to do the good things I do myself."

Colombia currently sit in sixth place with 18 points and the top four finishers qualify directly to the finals with the fifth-placed team headed to a playoff. Ecuador are currently third with 20 points behind Brazil and Uruguay. 

Colombia host Bolivia on March 23 and travel to Quito to play Ecuador five days later.

Rodriguez had praise for Colombia teammate Radamel Falcao, who took a heavy blow to the hip in the closing minutes of Monaco's 2-1 Ligue 1 win over Bordeaux on Saturday and has been working to regain fitness.

"He has been playing really well of late and I hope that continues so that he can help us score goals," he said.

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