Everton Goaltender Tim Howard key to team’s success

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American international goaltender Tim Howard has been the subject of recent rumors in England as several reports have stated he is planning to return to Major League Soccer (MLS) before he retires. However, the veteran, who tends goal in the English Premier League with Everton, said he wants to finish his career with the Liverpool-based club. This is good news for the team’s management and fans as they struggled without him this year when he was sidelined with an injury.

Everton is 12th place in the 20-team league with 27 points after 25 games, but are just five points ahead of 18th position and the relegation zone. The squad has won just six games, while losing 10 and drawing nine. The 35-year-old joined Everton on loan from Manchester United in 2006 and has been a fixture between the posts when he’s healthy. He has missed several matches over the past couple of seasons with a back injury and that meant his chances of breaking the club record for consecutive league games held by Neville Southall was shot.

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While playing in England, Howard has still maintained his number one netminder status with the U.S. national team. He starred for his homeland at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and made 15 saves in a game against Belgium to set an all-time tournament record. After the World Cup Howard announced that he wanted to take a break from international soccer for a year so he could spend more time with his two children.

Bet365 lists the odds of Everton being relegated at 50/1 and 14/1 to win the Europa League.

His current contract with Everton lasts until June of 2018 and he isn’t thinking of leaving it anytime soon. He recently told CNN, “It’s the club that I love. All of the questions I have been looking for in my career have been answered here. So I think I would like to finish here and then be done. I’m living the good life here at Everton and I don’t think I really need to change the scenery.”

Howard plans on returning to the U.S. squad soon as he’s aiming to play in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, but he’ll have to reclaim his status as the nation’s top goalie from Brad Guzan of English Premier League side Aston Villa. Guzan has been playing in net while Howard takes his break. Howards should be able to reclaim his position as he’s earned the nickname the Secretary of Defense for his international heroics over the years. He admits that he misses the national team, but his immediate focus is making sure Everton doesn’t fall into the relegation zone.

Everton is certainly stronger with Howard back in net after returning in mid-February from two months on the shelf due to a calf injury. The goaltender is confident that Everton will stay in the Premier League and said talk of relegation was nonsense. The team finished in fifth place last season and earned a berth in the Europa League, but no matter where they place this campaign, the club’s performance has been disappointing. Howard is back now for the last 13 games and if he can play as well as usual, the talk of Everton going down will indeed be nonsense.

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