Tim Howard ready for USMNT return, as heroics rescue Everton

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LONDON — Tim Howard was Man of the Match on Saturday at White Hart Lane and Everton’s goalkeeper was pivotal in the Toffees taking a point from White Hart Lane.

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Howard, 36, made a string of fine stops in the first half, the best coming in the 23rd minute as he thwarted Harry Kane when the Spurs strike went clean through one-on-one. Everton’s goalkeeper will link up with the U.S. national team next week for two friendlies against Peru and Brazil, and he will arrive back in the USMNT squad for the first time in over a year in the best possible form.

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Following his self-imposed sabbatical from the international scene, Howard was pleased with his performance and that of his defense in shutting out Spurs.

“I’m full of confidence with those boys, it’s the way we play. We want to be bold and we want to take the ball. For us our chemistry and the way we gel together is fine,” Howard said. “My job is to keep the ball out of the net and I need to do that more often.”

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With Howard returning to the U.S. setup next week, his manager at Everton Roberto Martinez was full of praise for the New Jersey native and hailed his importance in Everton picking up their fifth point of the season from their opening four games.

“Tim Howard was immense,” Martinez told ProSoccerTalk. “No just with his actions but with the way he was talking and creating a real good communication with the two center halves with John and Phil and the back four. I thought it was a really strong display from a defensive point of view.”

ProSoccerTalk then asked Martinez if that was one of the best Howard displays he has seen.

“No, no,” Martinez laughed. “With Tim we are used to that level of performance. He is a leader. He is an incredible influence in the dressing room and then on the pitch he is enjoying his football and is in a very good moment. I wasn’t surprised at all.”

Martinez was also asked if Howard returning to the U.S. and making regular trips back across the Atlantic Ocean would impact his performances with Everton, after a year with only his PL club to focus on.

“Not at all. He is ready,” Martinez said. “I think sometimes as a player you need a little bit of a mental break more than anything. I think he had a very good season in terms of being at the club and having a bit of a rest. Now he is ready. He is one of those personalities that they need to be the number one for the USA and needs to be the number one for Everton. I think he’s got some terrific years ahead.”

For Howard, he has been told by U.S. national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann that for the upcoming friendlies and the foreseeable future he will be second-choice behind Brad Guzan. However, if Howard continues to play like this, the long-time USMNT No. 1 will be back in that spot in no time at all.