Tim Howard’s tenure in the Everton goal likely will extend beyond the 10-year mark.
Howard signed a new contract with Everton on Thursday, which could keep him at the Premier League club until 2018.
(@Everton) April 17, 2014
Everton manager Roberto Martinez praised Howard effusively after the goalkeeper signed on the dotted line.
“To have Tim performing as he has been this season, I cannot see past him to choose the best goalkeeper in the league,” Martinez said, according to the Liverpool Echo. “For him, in such an important year with the World Cup around the corner, to commit his future for the long term is an incredible moment for the dressing room.
Howard joined Everton from Manchester United in 2006 and quickly cemented himself as the Toffees’ No. 1 keeper. The 35-year-old New Jersey native has made 343 appearances for Everton (22nd most in club history). Howard holds the Premier League record for most shutouts in a season with 16 (in 2008-09) and has an impressive 12 this season.
If Howard stays healthy and remains Everton’s starter, he could reach the 500-game mark — which is something only three other players have done with the club.
While Howard’s on-field importance to Everton is beyond dispute, Martinez said the U.S. international is even more influential behind the scenes.
“On top of his goalkeeping, it’s his overall demeanor and personality in the dressing room,” Martinez said. “He is a strong leader.
“Then you see his human values and the way he effects youngsters; he is the perfect role model for our football club. We have a good group of young goalkeepers who can follow that sort of example, and that is why it’s so significant he has agreed to stay with Everton for a long, long period.”
Howard’s previous contract was set to expire in 2016. The new four-year pact allows Howard to focus on Everton’s pursuit of UEFA Champions League qualification and the U.S.A.’s 2014 FIFA World Cup journey without worrying about his club future.
Photo via Twitter/@Everton