Is Tim Howard’s future at Everton under threat?

2 Comments

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.

WATCH: Pair of inspiring Academy videos from Men In Blazers

@MenInBlazers
Leave a comment

Men In Blazers produced a pair of videos on two teens from rival academies that should give all young players a sense of gratitude and inspiration for their chances in American soccer.

New York City FC Academy center back Prince Amponsah and New York Red Bulls Academy destroyer Amadeo Chapru-Tate get the mini-doc treatment from Roger Bennett.

Amponsah comes from Ghana, and his family moved to the United States where their son found his way to the youth national team.

[ MORE: Fabinho has interest in Man Utd ]

Chapru-Tate comes from Haiti, adopted by his parents after a three-year process. His first game saw him score an own goal, but that was not a sign of what’s to come for the 15-year-old.

Confederations Cup: Scenarios before final group matches

Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Seven of eight nations remain alive for the knockout rounds after two-thirds of the group stage at the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.

Only New Zealand has been eliminated, though the underdogs aren’t the sort of nations who will quit ahead of its group finale against Portugal.

That’s one of two Saturday matches, along with Russia versus Mexico, with two more on the docket for Sunday when Germany meets Cameroon and Chile duels with Australia.

[ MORE: Fabinho has interest in Man Utd ]

We’ve seen zany finishes at the Confederations Cup before, as the U.S. beat Egypt 3-0 and Brazil topped Italy 3-0 on the final day of group play in 2009 to send the Americans past Italy and into the knockout rounds despite a tournament-opening 3-1 loss to the Italians.

Group A

Draws will be enough to send Mexico and Portugal into the knockout rounds, with Mexico currently leading the group by virtue of a single goal scored (The two sides drew 2-2 in the opener).

We mentioned New Zealand’s status as a wild card, but hosts Russia will be under immense pressure against Mexico. The cynic will note that the tournament’s location could help the Russians beyond simple home-field advantage, while a bigger cynic may not that Mexico has been the beneficiary of plenty of officials’ whistles and non-whistles in recent years.

The safe bet is Portugal to win and Mexico to advance via draw or win.

Group B

No one’s safe, but Chile is feeling very good about its chances coming into Sunday’s match against Australia in Moscow. The Chileans battered Australia at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and a draw would give them a place in the next round.

The Socceroos need a two-goal win to pass Chile and assure a spot in the next round. A one-goal win could also do the trick for Australia if Germany loses and Australia outscores the Germans (who currently hold a one-goal advantage).

Germany knows it’s result-and-in for them, while Cameroon faces the longest odds. Not only do the Africans need to upset the Germans, but they need a two-goal win and help. If Cameroon won by one, it would fail to pass Germany.

Southampton to hire Pellegrino: “No last minute hitches expected”

Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Southampton Daily Echo says reports of Frank De Boer’s hiring at Crystal Palace were triggered by news that Southampton favors Mauricio Pellegrino.

De Boer has not been announced by Palace, but Pellegrino’s appointment could come first. The Argentine is expected to get the Saints job.

[ MORE: Fabinho has interest in Man Utd ]

Pellegrino, De Boer and Patrick Vieira had been reported as options for Saints, and Pellegrino has emerged as the favorite.

The Southampton and Palace jobs are the only vacant seats in the Premier League, with Watford hiring Marco Silva and Leicester keeping Craig Shakespeare.

From The Southampton Daily Echo:

Palace are believed to have been told that Pellegrino favours joining Saints, and therefore they moved quickly to offer De Boer the job.

It removes the last remaining obstacle and gives Saints a clear run in negotiating a deal to make the 45-year-old Argentinian their new manager, with no last minute hitches expected.

Again, this is going to be a hectic time for Saints fans. That’s not because Pellegrino isn’t a promising hire; He’s a top prospect. No, we’re just worried for the amount of times Mauricio Pellegrino is going to be called by the name of former Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Juve’s Kean could leave club over tractor dispute

Photo by Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images
Leave a comment

No tractors, no teenager.

Moise Kean, 17, broke into the Juventus senior team last season with a trio of Serie A appearances that concluded with a goal against Bologna on May 27.

He also made a token appearance in the UEFA Champions League against Sevilla, which all-in-all is a pretty solid debut for the century’s first birth to make an appearance in a Top Five league in Europe.

[ MORE: Fabinho has interest in Man Utd ]

About that contract, though.

Kean’s father, Biorou, says Juventus has broken a contractual promise to his family, and that could send the teenager into the transfer market. Biorou says that his son’s 18th birthday — Feb. 28, 2018 — could trigger Moise Kean leave town as “an adult.”

From Sky Sports:

“Juventus offered a contract of €700,000-a-year, which was fine, but the problem is they had also promised me some tractors for my agricultural business in the Ivory Coast, but now they say there is no budget for them.

“I own several hectares of land in the Ivory Coast which I would like to cultivate with rice and corn. I’m an agronomist. I asked for agricultural materials and they told me “no problem.”

Now, though, those tractors are not in the Ivory Coast, and Biorou claims that he never signed a contract with agent Mino Raiola. It all sets the table for further complains and a transfer, so it’s worth keeping an eye on this odd saga.