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Is Tim Howard’s future at Everton under threat?

Jul 10, 2013, 12:33 PM EDT

Everton v Blackburn Rovers - Premier League Getty Images

Yesterday we joked about how Everton are fast becoming Wigan Atheltic II.

But for US national team stalwart Tim Howard, it might not be a laughing matter.

Roberto Martinez is looking to stamp his authority in charge at Everton, and the new manager has recruited plenty of his former players already as the Toffees transformation continues.

And after signing Spanish Under-21 goalkeeper Joel Robles from Atletico Madrid, Howard could have a fight on his hands for the No.1 jersey.

The Spanish youngster, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Wigan, joins former teammates Arouna Kone and Antolin Alcaraz at Goodison Park.

Robles is only 23, but he is already relishing the challenge to compete with Howard for the starting spot.

Obviously we will be competing together and it’s the manager’s decision at the end of the day (who he chooses).

Robles doesn’t seem too content to be a long-term second-choice ‘keeper behind Howard. So what does that mean for the USMNT’s long-term star between the sticks? It is hard to say.

But it has definitely been a summer of change for Howard. His long-term goalkeeping coach Chris Woods has switched Everton for Manchester United, so Howard will no longer work with a coach he’s familiar with on a day-to-day basis. But Woods will still keep his position as the USA’s goalkeeper coach.

(MORE: Are Everton quickly becoming Wigan Athletic II? As Robles joins Kone and Alcaraz)

And Howard was under some intense pressure last season. After a few mistakes in goal for Everton coupled with Brad Guzan’s fine form at Aston Villa, it wasn’t the easiest season for the former Manchester United ‘keeper.

source: Reuters

Will Martinez opt for Joel Robles over Tim Howard?

Robles is a different type of ‘keeper to Howard, he is all action, comes off his line, is extremely good with his feet and at 6 foot 5 towers above attackers at set pieces to often collect the ball with ease. Howard is a pure shot-stopper whose talent is undoubted.

At the age of 34 he already has 11 years of playing experience in the EPL with United and Everton. But this coming season could see him faced with his biggest challenge yet. Both for his club side and the national team.

On the flip side, Howard could get even better. Most goalkeepers don’t hit their prime until they get past 35, so the best is yet to come. And having a keen, young and ambitious ‘keeper pushing you all the way may help Howard to improve further.

We shall wait and see. Howard has a fight on his hands for club and country. Over the years he’s been up to for the challenge, but this may be his toughest yet.

  1. rafibomb10 - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    Joe great article. I don’t know that it’s fair to say “most goalkeepers don’t hit their prime until their get past 35” because I am not sure that is completely true. Shea Given turned 35 and was a disaster in the net. Van der Sar was better as a 32 year old than a 37 year old. I agree keepers are like fine wine and only get better with age, but father time is still undefeated. I’m just hoping we, the US, don’t assume Tim will be the easy #1 goalie through the 2013/14 season. We all remember the 2006 WC when an elderly Kasey Keller was chosen to start over Howard. I’m not sure Kasey made one clean save.

  2. charliej11 - Jul 10, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    I just hope we don’t see a Howard that isn’t playing. He is the US best choice, we need to him have PT going into a WCup.

    It really, once again, shows the need to have a strong domestic league. Relying on British guys to play Americans when they need playing time is stupid at best.

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