Martinez adamant that Howard will return to face Sunderland

28/10/2015  138 Comments  [Jump to last]
Joe Robles's heroics in goal against Norwich this evening have done nothing to alter Roberto Martinez's thinking over who will be in goal to face Sunderland on Sunday, with the manager saying that "there isn't even a doubt" that Tim Howard will be selected.

Just as he was in the previous two rounds, Robles was named as the starting goalkeeper for the Capital One Cup fourth round tie against the Canaries and after a briefly unconvincing opening the Spaniard turned in a man-of-the-match display.

He turned three shots over his crossbar, including a point-blank header from Lewis Grabban, and palmed another effort from the Norwich man away from his goal and then made a crucial save in the penalty shoot-out to help Everton book their place in the quarter finals.

Martinez acknowledged his compatriot's impressive performance but said it changes nothing in terms of his first-choice goalkeeper, that despite Tim Howard's questionable form of late.

"Joel has been playing in this competition and I trust him 100 per cent," Martinez said after the game, "the same way Tim Howard is a very, very influential member of our squad. Nothing changes.

"Of course we want to be better in terms of keeping clean-sheets but it's very easy and soft to look at the last man standing in front of goal in those situations.

"Tim's got incredible standards, he cannot be happy with the goals he conceded at the weekend. But there's no doubt in terms of Tim Howard's starting ability. "Joel was throughout the game himself - he was controlled," Martinez added.

"I thought he had the moment of the game in the header of Lewis Grabban - that is a terrific save. His composure and demeanour was very, very good. His penalty save was very impressive."


Reader Comments (138)

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Vijay Nair
2 Posted 28/10/2015 at 03:49:47
This has got to have a detrimental effect to Joel's morale. Whatever he does and however (badly) Tim does, our manager refuses to give him a fair go. If he has any ambition whatsoever, I reckon he will end up leaving.

Stop playing favourites and select your form players Roberto! It's not rocket science!!

Neil Monaghan
3 Posted 28/10/2015 at 03:54:20
I did say earlier that I would put my house on Martinez not dropping Howard. Unbelievable really, considering the form Howard is in. Robles could have saved every penalty and he still wouldn't get a look in. If Howard had played tonight we would be out. FACT. I REALLY don't understand some of the decisions Martinez makes, he certainly makes some strange ones.
Nicholas Ryan
4 Posted 28/10/2015 at 03:56:45
I have generally been supportive of RM but this, I really, really, don't understand!
Jay Harris
5 Posted 28/10/2015 at 04:03:15
Seems to me like RM is blowing a raspberry at the supporters.

Does he give a shit what we think?

Obviously not but ultimately it's your job on the line Roberto.

If a player ever merited a bit of a run in the side it is Robles even though he may fall short of what we should be aiming for he deserves a chance.

Mike Price
7 Posted 28/10/2015 at 04:32:11
That's the final straw with Martinez. Terrible management and he's asking for the crowd to turn hostile on both him and Howard.

I can't believe that the media are only talking about the Arsenal mistakes. He is consistently derailing this team and has been since he's been here, the last two years it's almost beyond belief.

Other Everton keepers have been poor in the past, but I can't think of any other that has been so bad for so long. Martinez sanctioned a ridiculous contract, thinks he's fit for purpose and won't allow anyone else to compete with him for the jersey despite continuous horror shows. He's being negligent and it should contribute to him losing his job.

Jimmy-Ã…ge Sørheim
8 Posted 28/10/2015 at 05:40:11
I think morale is the only thing Martinez cares about, and Howard is a big part of that. Also he wants to have a commander in the defence now that Jagielka is out.

I still can not defend dropping Robles after that performance, but to be honest, this is a repeat of last season all over again, but this time fans will NOT be in a forgiving mood if we lose against Sunderland because of another poor Howard display.

Brian Porter
9 Posted 28/10/2015 at 06:42:15
The next couple of games could prove to be a defining 'moment' in Roberto's career as our manager. The crowd will already be in hostile mood after this dismal showing and I'm sure they will show their displeasure at Howard's selection on Sunday.

The board must be aware of the growing dissatisfaction amongst the supporters, if not, they should be. It's their job to look after the interests of the club and if the manager is showing quite blatantly that he is unable or unwilling to select in-form players as opposed to those who have become a liability, they should act to end that manager's tenure at the club.

Robles and Funes Mori were superb last night, the rest appeared devoid of ideas or instructions from the manager. If he seriously thinks we can win this competition he MUST play his strongest team in every match. How he expected to make eight changes and get a cohesive team display from his team, God only knows!

Kunal Desai
10 Posted 28/10/2015 at 06:51:12
This guy is deluded. It's definitely time for him to go at the end of the season.
Dave Bickley
11 Posted 28/10/2015 at 07:00:07
Is Victor Valdes available in January? I wonder if he's on his way to us as Brown Shoes obviously has no long term plans for Robles despite performances like last night.
Harold Matthews
12 Posted 28/10/2015 at 07:16:33
Martinez does not have the bottle to tell Howard, face to face, that he is on the bench.
Jim Bennings
13 Posted 28/10/2015 at 07:20:53
Why did you sign Joel Robles then, Roberto, if as soon as he builds up confidence you drop him?

Joe Foster
15 Posted 28/10/2015 at 07:27:44
That just about sums RM up.
Andy Codling
16 Posted 28/10/2015 at 07:36:30
So Howard is basically undroppable even though he has stunk the place out for the last 18 months! No doubt Allardyce will be giving instructions to whip balls in all day around the 6-yard box to exploit him.

We have a manager who doesn't know his best eleven but plays his favourites no matter how bad they are doing. The sooner he's gone, the better!!!

Colin Glassar
17 Posted 28/10/2015 at 07:45:41
Very poor show Roberto. You are paid to make hard decisions to benefit the club, not to please your favourites. Howard has been awful for too long now so drop him ffs, or are you too scared to do so?
Allan Board
18 Posted 28/10/2015 at 07:53:13
When you have a manager who clearly has certain mates amongst the group, it is doomed to failure. Everton players squaring up to each other on the pitch? This was against a team who are in free fall and yet they ran the show.

The pressure is back and Martinez is back to spouting rubbish! Your keeper won the game for you, idiot!!
Get shot of this corrosive, divisive day-dreamer who likes the sound of his own voice too much!

Relegation — I keep saying it.

Bryan Green
19 Posted 28/10/2015 at 08:01:40
Martinez is an absolute joke! Even if he is gonna play Howard on Saturday, why say it publicly?

Robles deserves a chance. If we had a strong-minded manager instead of Mr Phenomenal, he would be playing. All he does is play his favourites, no matter what. If I was Robles, I would fuck off. And take the clown Martinez as well and get a manager in who can make tough decisions and not just play his favourites.


Robert Elliott
20 Posted 28/10/2015 at 08:02:27
Don't understand Roberto on this at all. All managers have their favourites but he inherited Howard and signed Robles so you'd expect his favouritism to be the other way around!

Howard hasn't been the same since he got all that adulation after the World Cup and Joel deserves his chance. I think he's improved after a shaky start at Everton and he was decent last night.

The save he made near the end of normal time was outstanding. From where I was sat it looked as if the ball was past him and he had to reach back to claw it out. He wasn't afraid to give a few of those in front of him a rollocking at times either.

Mike Green
21 Posted 28/10/2015 at 08:05:32
Martinez needs to heed Oscar Wilde's advice:

'To lose one goal to a six yard header may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness'.

Now that's not even taking into account the Liverpool debacle. I think Martinez must have his head in his hands praying for the keeper who was keeper of the tournament in Brazil to turn up. Maybe he will show up again, who knows, but this all boils down to offering him what I expect is a big money contract until 2019 (is that really true.....?!). If so, it's complete mismanagement.

Didn't see the match last night but sounds like we were dire; if we draw someone with form and ambition, they will knock us out with little effort in the next round.

Peter Bell
22 Posted 28/10/2015 at 08:08:21
I knew he had no balls the minute he gave Hibbert a new contract. Hasn't got the balls to make a tough decision that will upset someone, he is just hopeful these players retire gracefully and he doesn't have to be the bad guy.

HK proved he could be a nice guy and ruthless when it came to making decisions. I've always been a RM fan, but not after this.

James Kirrane
23 Posted 28/10/2015 at 08:08:52
Howard will probably be captain on Sunday just to rub salt into the wounds. We have conceded 13 league goals this season and he is to blame for at least half of them. Bring in performance-related pay.
Barry Thompson
24 Posted 28/10/2015 at 08:08:57
So much for his bullshit about completion for places. Tim, it doesn't matter how shit you are, you're first name on the team sheet.

Baines will probably walk straight back in as well.

John Crawley
27 Posted 28/10/2015 at 08:19:50
"Tim Howard is a very, very influential member of our squad" - says it all really. As a manager if you're not prepared to make tough decisions for whatever reason then you're simply never going to be a top manager.

It sounds like Martinez isn't prepared to drop Howard because of his influence in the squad. It's this type of thing which will mean Martinez will never make it as a top manager.

Allan Barratt
28 Posted 28/10/2015 at 08:26:32
Same old, same old with El Bobby. The man is a stubborn fool!
Ernie Baywood
29 Posted 28/10/2015 at 08:30:28
I can see what he's trying to do. A huge vote of confidence in Tim so that he feels 10 foot tall.

But the other side of that is Joel's thoughts. I'd be thinking that if he's this desperate to get an old bloke in form then he clearly doesn't think I'll ever be anything more than backup.

Basically, we still need a new keeper.

Andy Bone
30 Posted 28/10/2015 at 08:30:40
I was talking to some Arsenal fans at the weekend and they couldn't believe the blame I was putting on Howard, until the slow motion replays.

Robles was outstanding last night, not only the saves but the way he commanded the area both with the ball in the air and on the ground. Decision-making was excellent and let's not forget he put Lukaku through twice from long-range kicks.

Robles probably knows he is always going to be second place but sooner or later someone will come in and offer him first team matches and we will be back to square one. I have always said we would have been in fourth spot 2 years back with a decent keeper and we would have won the derby and got a result against Man City and Arsenal with a top keeper.

It has to change soon

Ray Roche
31 Posted 28/10/2015 at 08:36:09
A display of arrogance... that's astonishing. He's right, though. We, all of us, know fuck all. We can't see Howard's brilliance at corners etc. ....something about the Emperor's new clothes...

The sooner Martinez wakes up to reality, the better.

Gerard Carey
32 Posted 28/10/2015 at 08:40:51
The same thing happened last year, so why should any of us be surprised this time around. Going to be another RM cockup.
Rob Hooton
33 Posted 28/10/2015 at 08:45:02
At least do some work on the training ground so that we don't see the same mistakes over and over again; it's getting tiresome now and I almost can't be bothered.

Tony Marsh
34 Posted 28/10/2015 at 08:54:03
I would much rather see a young up-and-coming keeper who could well become a great keeper given a chance to shine than keep faith in a washed-up goalkeeper who we all know is past it and can only get worse.

We as a club can't afford to play a game of chance. It's too important to fuck about with the lives of players and fans. Martinez is a pudding. Don't understand this clown any more.

John Graham
35 Posted 28/10/2015 at 08:58:49
I know Howard isn't the best. Had some awful games and some brilliant games where he has saved us. He has lots of faults but can also be a match winner.

If we had a decent back-up I would put him in. But Robles doesn't inspire confidence, doesn't control his defence, and I think the defenders would prefer to have Howard behind them

Jim Lloyd
36 Posted 28/10/2015 at 08:59:38
Agreed Ernie. I think you've called absolutely right.
Ian Riley
37 Posted 28/10/2015 at 09:03:20
My biggest worry with this manager is relegation! Is team selection based on who is mates with the gaffer or actual form?

The manager needs to be careful now... You can't spin shit football or think the fans are uneducated about football! This has been going on for over 12 months and no more excuses. He used the Europa League last season but can't now! I felt sorry for Norwich last night, they were mugged and the police should have been called!

Robles should put a transfer request in. If he can't get in with Howard's form, time to go! However, Howard's form is a smoke screen, the team overall is not playing well. Our style of football is killing us and the manager does not see the problem!

My question to you all is how the bloody hell did he get the job at Everton after his record at Wigan?

Peter Carpenter
38 Posted 28/10/2015 at 09:12:52
'There's no doubt in terms of Tim Howard's starting ability' - Quite right Bob. I love the way he starts too, such nice clean kit, runs out beautifully and the way he stands between the posts when the first whistle goes — aaahhh, just gorgeous. Then the ball comes towards him....

Another meaningless statement.

Sam Hoare
39 Posted 28/10/2015 at 09:13:05
I've been on or around the fence for a while on RM but I think this stubbornness over Howard is tipping me one way. Loyalty to the players can be a good thing but total denial of poor form and declining ability is another. If you don't reward performances like the one from Robles last night then what sort of message does that send out?

Fact is that, even if Howard does pick up his form, he is pretty old now and has one or maybe two seasons (hopefully not) left in him in top flight. Surely Robles needs bedding in and what better opportunity than after a heroic performance and the No 1 in a shaky patch....

Ian Jones
40 Posted 28/10/2015 at 09:13:07
Ernie at #22 probably calls it when he says Martinez comments about Howard are to do with confidence.

For me we just need a goalie that commands his area, 6-yard box and beyond, etc.

Trevor Peers
41 Posted 28/10/2015 at 09:13:47
No surprise, this is Roberto's style of management after all. It's there for all to see, his attempt to play possession football is a total failure, bringing with it a larger amount of defeats and draws than victories.

He has a nucleus of senior players who are undroppable, no matter how bad their form is. Worst of all, there's little chance of any change unless we drop into the bottom six.

Jamie Sweet
42 Posted 28/10/2015 at 09:18:10
How many more headed goals in our 6 yard box will it take Roberto? Personally, I think 4 in 4 weeks is 4 too many.

Robles may not be the ideal long term solution, but he should be given a few games to at least give Tim time to reflect and perhaps go away and grow a pair.

Ultimately, that number one spot must be on the shopping list for January or at the very very latest, in the summer.

Ospina's price must have dropped since his clanger. Still a massive improvement on what we've got.

Alex Coughlin
43 Posted 28/10/2015 at 09:18:37
I judged Robles after a couple of games when he arrived and thought not good enough. I was eating my words after his little run last season... and last night I thought he was 'phenomenal'. He's 25, so very young; never had near a full season under his belt, and in my eyes is brimming with potential.

So why on earth is Martinez deciding not to play him when we clearly have keeper issues? One side of the coin is Howard's confidence but he's old anyway and will soon leave. Not rewarding Robles will eventually drive him elsewhere to look for game time and who can blame him so we will need two keepers and not one.

I like Martinez but this favourites business needs to stop, Kone, Naismith, Howard and possibly Barry (I still haven't made my mind up as sometimes he turns up and sometimes he doesn't). Seems a poor management skill that you would have thought at this level would have been ironed out or questioned by assistant managers.

Jim Bennings
44 Posted 28/10/2015 at 09:20:47

Even if a confidence vote made Tim Howard 10 feet tall, I still wouldn't trust him on any balls in the 6-yard box.

It's obvious Martinez caters to his favourites and big names. Last season, we won at Wolfsburg with Tony Hibbert right back and Luke Garbutt left back; he then drops them at Tottenham on the Sunday and we lost that match..

He doesn't reward good performances. How is any player going to build confidence?

Kevin O'Regan
45 Posted 28/10/2015 at 09:31:14
It must be the threat of the return of the Taliban beard that's worrying Roberto. Scary decision from RM and scary hairy lack of decisive box ownership from a keeper who should do the decent thing and retire.
Ian Jones
46 Posted 28/10/2015 at 09:36:29
At the start of the season many on here predicted that with the games we had we would be lucky to get to 10 points or closer to bottom. So far we have 13. Dropped points that we should have had. Gained some that we were not expecting, Chelsea and Southampton spring to mind. Not too bad points wise.

Considering we also seem to have lost all 4 of our first team defensive unit, that's not too bad

From a playing point of view, I would love to see Everton players doing the basic things right. They don't. It seems to be a collective thing. Apologies to players who have done okay. We can blame managers all day long for tactics and confusing players but, at some stage, players have to step up and realise that they have to make an effort too to pass to a player in the same-coloured shirt or close enough! Football is also about confidence.

Many also were prepared to give Martinez the first 10 games. Now that we have got those out of the way, we now have what we loosely thought are or were winnable games against lesser teams. So one of those will be against West Ham who so far have beaten Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City amongst many wins. Hmmm... Well, we will beat them. Lukaku will score.

Howard has made some great saves this season and kept us in matches. However, as we all know. He is rubbish on crosses and hasn't helped the cause.

Interesting times ahead.

Michael Penley
47 Posted 28/10/2015 at 09:43:55
"Howard is a hugely influential member of the squad".

No doubt. He must have a great deal of influence over you, because there's no way he would be picked based on form.

Laurie Hartley
48 Posted 28/10/2015 at 09:44:58
If he brings Howard back on Sunday and gives him the captains armband, he will be in serious danger of loosing the dressing room.

Robles should start; Barry should be given the armband for the time being.

Steve Harris
49 Posted 28/10/2015 at 09:54:13
Kunal, why have we got to wait till the end of the season? We could be in the Championship by then!!
Peter Carpenter
50 Posted 28/10/2015 at 09:58:19
He'll be in serious danger of losing the crowd too, Laurie. Especially when the first cross swings into the 6-yard box and Tim Howard stays rooted to his line waving his arms.

And I wonder what tactic Big Fat Sam is practicing this morning in training?

Liam Reilly
51 Posted 28/10/2015 at 10:21:59
I've long been a defender of Martinez but this is just plain bad management. I'm all for breeding confidence into your players when the have a bad run of form (which most players do); but this is a chronic failure of form. Howard has one good game in 5 or 6 at present and if the manager really believes in competition for places then Robles should replace him.

Howard will no doubt be targeted on Sunday, where we can prepare for aerial bombardment and more of Howard diving in with his feet.

If Howard does love the club as he says he does; he should asked to be removed until he regains some confidence; but that would never happen.

John Anderson
52 Posted 28/10/2015 at 10:23:56
If Howard had anything about him, he'd take being dropped on the chin and get right behind Robles. He can continue to be a massive influence on the training ground and in the changing room by encouraging him as much as possible.

This is about Everton achieving success — not keeping Tim Howard happy.

Christopher Timmins
53 Posted 28/10/2015 at 10:24:26
Robles may not be the ultimate solution but at present he is a better option than Howard, therefore, on Sunday Robles should play.

Alex Bennett
54 Posted 28/10/2015 at 10:36:29
This is the sort of stubbornness that meant we barely won a game for 2 months between December and January last season. The bloke is a fool.
Anthony Lamb
55 Posted 28/10/2015 at 10:42:54
Of course none of us know what goes on behind the scenes in this increasingly ludicrous world of professional football but I am afraid this manager's public utterances are now as intolerable as some of the football served up by the teams he puts on the pitch.

That Howard's patent weaknesses in a key aspect of his role, namely the ability to deal with cross balls into his 6-yard box, have been allowed to go on unresolved for so long is a disgrace on all concerned. Robles is by no means a Neville Southall, at least not yet, but from all reports last night he equipped himself very well, and certainly in the last run he had in the team, he showed all the signs of growing into the role.

Depending of course on his own personal situation etc, it would perhaps bring a number of issues to a head if he were to ask to be transferred from a situation which for any working person must be intolerable. I shudder to think what must be running through his mind when, week after week, he sees a guy with such obvious weaknesses being exposed on such a regular basis at great cost to the team and not being given a chance to show what he can do.

After all, what is the point of having a second goalkeeper in the first place? There are only two reasons. One in case of injury and two in case of poor or abject performance levels. How Martinez can possibly justify tolerating the second of these for so long in the case of Howard would certainly justify Robles in telling his manager just how incompetent and unjust he appears to be.

In such a "public" performance business, there is no hiding one's performance, and the paying customer has few outlets available to vent their displeasure etc at totally unacceptable performances. Does Mr Martinez really not see that it could be bordering on the cruel to expose Howard to the inevitable wrath of the crowd should he continue to produce such inept performances?

According to his manager, Howard has "such incredible high standards". If so, perhaps Howard himself should acknowledge that he is so far removed from the heights of those standards that he should be asking his manager to relieve him of his place until he regains those "high standards". Otherwise I am afraid he may test the patience of even the most loyal supporters to such an extent that it proves unpleasant and sadly unnecessary for all concerned, not least himself.

But it is the manager who is ultimately responsible and it is he who must be held to account.

Rick Tarleton
56 Posted 28/10/2015 at 10:52:30
Martinez is absolutely right: Tim Howard is an influential member of our squad. His influence is major, he scares the life out of the defenders, he gives opposing attacks confidence and at corners and set pieces he "influences" the ball towards the goal.

You can't deny Martinez's point.

Mike Hayes
57 Posted 28/10/2015 at 10:57:22
The quicker Martinez goes, the better. Clueless in every department and totally deluded.

I didn't want him in the first place; he's a failure who admitted he wasn't the man to bring Wigan back into the Premier League – that says it all.

Thanks but no thanks; go and go now.

James Hughes
58 Posted 28/10/2015 at 11:11:04
BBC sports day are even questioning this, so performances count for nothing then?

I thought Robles had a good game yet Dracula is straight back in the team. (Sorry, I know it's old, but very apt.)

Mike Allison
59 Posted 28/10/2015 at 11:11:08
It's an opportunity for a glimpse at a potentially strong future. I wouldn't have dropped Jagielka but his injury means Stones and Funes Mori can begin to develop a partnership, and the League Cup game was perfect timing to say Robles had played his way into the side rather than that you were dropping Howard. To make it clear that there is no competition for places and that some people will be picked no matter what is not the way to go about keeping a squad of players happy and together.

Incidentally, I'd make Stones the captain, Barry will not change the way he plays whether he has the armband or not, with a younger player like Stones, it could inspire him to play a bigger leadership role.

Peter Weaver
60 Posted 28/10/2015 at 11:12:49
Rumour has it that Howard, Barry and McCarthy were overwhelmingly supportive of the manager and his style when the fans led 'revolution' kicked off last season.

As such, they became undroppable.

Gavin McGarvey
61 Posted 28/10/2015 at 11:13:07
Along with bears defecating in woods, this can be filed under, "hardly the biggest surprise in the world". When Howard is done (in a couple of years), then he'll be done, until then he'll play whenever fit.

There seem to be certain expectations regarding selection at Everton, and the selection of the established pros as long as they are fit is one of them. When Distin was left out, it was clear his number was up. Why? Who knows, but we all knew he wasn't getting another contract.

I'm guessing the manager makes assurances to players, which, if broken, would make his life very difficult if not impossible. If he drops Howard because Robles has a good game in the League Cup, then would Jagielka etc... start looking at offers from other clubs in a different light.

As for Howard, I don't buy into all the "he's terrible" stuff. He's a good but not great keeper. Barring signing a real talent (last seen in Martyn's stint), then we'd end up with someone the same or worse. The grass is always greener etc...

Nick Entwistle
62 Posted 28/10/2015 at 11:13:24
Would there be any issue with rotating the 'keepers match by match then deciding after the next 8 games or so?
Denis Richardson
63 Posted 28/10/2015 at 11:15:17
'I can see what he's trying to do. A huge vote of confidence in Tim so that he feels 10 foot tall.'

Ernie 22 - TH is 36 years old and knows he has zero competition. Whatever Martinez says in public is not going to make any difference - the guy knows he's undroppable. Bigging up of confidence is a bit irrelevant when he's going to be picked regardless of a) how badly he plays or b) or well the reserve 'keeper plays. Also a 'keeper with a crisis of confidence should be given a one way ticket to the bench.

Have said it many times but I still find it baffling that we gave a 34-year-old keeper a 5-year contract – did we really plan on him still being No 1 when he's 38 or 39 years old? For whatever reason, the manager seems to think Howard is his best option (better than signing someone else) so we're stuck with him between the sticks.

In fact, if everyone is fit, the same 9 names would make every starting line-up regardless of form or who the opposition are. The only real competition we have for places are for the 2 wide AM spots. Only injury makes RM pick anyone else in the back 5, CDM or striker spots.

Sunderland will load our penalty area this weekend so prepare for much of the same.

Gordon Crawford
64 Posted 28/10/2015 at 11:16:41
Ian (#28) I agree with you. We are going backwards every game. Players don't know what they are doing and so they look lost. We will be fortunate to finish in the top ten this season; yet with the right manager we could be a really great team.

But clearly Rubbertoe has his favourites, and he isn't willing to sacrifice them for the inform player. Howard (or Superglue as I call him) will always be number one, even if he had one leg and one arm.

If winning something this season and ending our long wait for a trophy meant that Roberto got another contract, then I would rather we didn't win anything.

Carl Taylor
65 Posted 28/10/2015 at 11:18:15
Joining this debate a bit late, so if I'm repeating others comments forgive me. Tim Howard is average, always has been, always will be. Ferguson knew it, that's why he got shut at the first opportunity. Think back to his World Cup "heroics'. Every save he made, he should have made. None were world class saves, it was just the quantity, not the quality.

I can list world class saves that Neville Southall made now, 30 years after he was making them. I can list games Howard has cost us by being poor from crosses and being beaten from distance to easily. That's the difference a world class goalkeeper brings, I don't recall The Bin Man getting beat from 30 yards consistently like the yank plank does!

Robles is not the long term answer, but he is the short term solution. Martinez is not managing Wigan now and his team play in front of the most knowledgeable fans in football now, not a load of Rugby League fans with nothing else to do on a Saturday.

Give Robles a run of games or start packing your bags for a long summer holiday next year... although he'll probably be a pundit at the Euros and won't start pre-season until he has 'enhanced' his own reputation further on TV all summer! Aarrggghhhh!

Richard Reeves
66 Posted 28/10/2015 at 11:20:59
Hmmmm.... I thought that gritted teeth look was just for the cameras. Obviously doesn't do angry very well and couldn't've been if he recalls the flying donkey.
David Hallwood
67 Posted 28/10/2015 at 11:26:54
For the people posting about Big Sam's tactics, it's already happening. The Arse dropped Walcott for Giroud and played a very un-Arsenal high-balls-into-the-box game, obviously Wenger highlighted Howard's cement boots, coupled with our inability to stop crosses coming into the box – a problem since Moyes, but now getting to crisis level.

This will be a test of RM's management because this is stubbornness gone mad, and everyone can see what the problem is, including the directors.

He's putting unnecessary pressure on himself because this makes Sunderland into a cup final which his ridiculous after 11 games. Concede another 6-yard header on Saturday, and God forbid it's also the losing goal, will make his position untenable.

William Cartwright
68 Posted 28/10/2015 at 11:43:45
I was spitting feathers when Robles got dropped last season after a short but effective run in the team. I used to play goalkeeper in my youth. Those were the days. It was all about confidence, routine to an extent and building up a feel for timing etc. The weather was the worst unknown factor where the wet ball and dry ball or sun in your eyes were a real pain. I was so, so upset last season because I could see a build up of momentum in Robles' performances. He was becoming much more confident as the games passed, and he conceded few goals.

Honestly I did not see the match last night but was not surprised to read of a 'shaky start' to become a build up to a very good performance with his game at the end of the match moved up to the next level. If there is one position where continuity is important it is the 'keeper.

I can not for the life of me comprehend exactly where Roberto was coming from telling Robles not to think 'long term' just concentrate on the game. To encourage his focus short term it as not necessary to try to stymie his imagination mid or long term. Robles is not an idiot. He seems a thoroughly pleasant young guy, well suited to his trade. For some reason Roberto does not want him, and Everton to flourish? Now after a solid performance Roberto paints himself publicly into a corner in support of Howard at just the wrong time, and says to Robles, thanks but no thanks. What if Howard gets injured in training for heavens sake.

This illogical, negative, marketng nightmare of uniquely stubborn egocentricity has just opened the door for his departure. I sense he has lost the plot at many levels and his fixation with Howard will be his downfall. The advance statement confirming to all what they do not want or did not expect to hear, is well I'm lost for words. . . . . .

He now has thousands of Evertonians split in their thoughts regarding Howard who I feel has been an incredible servant to the club over the years, and does not deserve to be shoved into the spotlight in this way. . . . . . . Now if he makes a mistake or is simply caught on the wrong foot and looks culpable, then the crowd willl not be nice and I can understand why.

Roberto grow up. Listen to those around you and do the right thing. However if you surround yourself by yes men, then be prepared to enter into an extremely challenging relationship with the knowledgeable fan base. For me, after acknowledging the great stance you took over the Stones affair you have completely undone that good work.Your nonsense will not be tolerated indefinitely. Time to move out and the sooner the better for all concerned you numpty.

Dean Peamum
69 Posted 28/10/2015 at 11:47:35
I'm starting to believe that Tim (short for timetogo?) Howard has photos of RM in a compromising situation with a couple of young hotel waitresses and an alsatian in a toilet cubicle at the Christmas party last year. Looks like RM is saying to the fans "Fuck you, I'm in charge."

I'm off to look up the Sunderland stats to see which of their players hasn't scored for a few years so I can stick a few quid on him.

Ste Traverse
71 Posted 28/10/2015 at 12:22:18
He may not be the long term answer, but on last nights showing, Joel should keep his place in the side.

I don't think he deserved to be dropped when he played last season when Howard was injured.

If Howard is back in nets on Sunday and we lose, I can see a massive revolt against RM.

Derek Thomas
72 Posted 28/10/2015 at 12:40:59
Dave Hallwood @52; The Directors? don't make me laugh. There are 3 'Factions' on our Board.

1) The nonentities.

2) Bill.

3) The 'powers that be' behind Bill.

It pains me to say it but there is a power vacuum at the Club and in an everyday way Martinez is filling it. He can say and do any old shite and nobody there is willing to tell him NO.

Tony J Williams
73 Posted 28/10/2015 at 12:48:55
"And I wonder what tactic Big Fat Sam is practising this morning in training?"

To be a little bit fair to Howard, his defence haven't been the greatest in helping his inability to fucking move an inch off his fucking line!!!

Hopefully with Mori being decent in the air, the moments when old starry jump flappy dickhead is left on his own against a forward in the 6 yard box will be limited.

My view of Mori changed a little last night after watching him closely. He is a confident player but seems to follow the wrong man on occasion and leaves gaps.
He doesn't give me a sense of dread so that is a plus and he is good in the air.

Can't shoot for shit though.

Gordon Crawford
74 Posted 28/10/2015 at 12:59:19
I can't make any excuses for Howard; he is decent shop stopper but that's all. Any top keeper should be commanding his 18 yard box, telling his defenders where to go and cleaning out anyone who gets in his way when coming for a cross, and that includes his own players. The 18 yard box should be his domain.
Howard does non of these things, sadly.
Kevin Rowlands
75 Posted 28/10/2015 at 13:03:51
Howard has a huge ego, whenever him or the team are criticized he becomes very defensive via his twitter feed about fans knowing nothing, never played the game, don't know what their talking about etc. If dropped I suspect he would be a problem to deal with, it shouldn't be the case but maybe Martinez is aware of that and feels slightly intimidated.

I think most of us agree he's well past his sell by date and has been average for a couple of seasons now. Last year he decided to take a break from USMNT and even with the lack of having to travel with them he had a poor season, this season he's decided to play for them again, hence all the extra travel and he expects to be better? doesn't make sense to me. He's 37 next, is only going to get worse, and even if Robles isn't the answer he needs replacing and soon.

Peter Cummings
77 Posted 28/10/2015 at 13:28:29
It's patently clear that Martinez has no respect for the fans opinions on his bizarre team selections and tactics after Howard's blunders v Arsenal, who were soundly beaten at Hillsborough last night.

He has the attitude and dictatorial arrogance of 'I'm in charge and anyone who disagrees can KMA', Evertonians have suffered enough for far too long under his reign and his insulting dismissal of Joel Robles's heroics is, to me, the last straw;he should go now.

Brian Porter
78 Posted 28/10/2015 at 13:40:20
Dave Bickley #10, Victor Valdes IS available in January and has told his agent he wants to leave Man Utd, but wants to stay in the Premier League. We'll never have a better chance to sign a world cup winning keeper but what's the betting Martinez ignores him?
Nitesh Kanchan
79 Posted 28/10/2015 at 13:42:08
We would have been down by 3 or 4 down by 60 min if Jags (on his current form) and Howard were playing yesterday, judging by the amount of corners and crosses that came into the box.
Nitesh Kanchan
80 Posted 28/10/2015 at 13:51:38
Dean, I heard that about Ivanovic and Mourinho.
Clive Mitchell
82 Posted 28/10/2015 at 14:09:25
We're playing in the Premier League without a proper goalkeeper. It's been like this for over a season. There are only two possibilities: either Martinez is too stupid or too weak to make the decision to play Robles, in which case Martinez must go; or he is in some way obliged to play Howard whenever Howard is available. That latter possibility is extraordinary. Surely it couldn't be?

What do we as fans do about it? Do we have to have choruses of "Drop Howard now, Drop Howard now" ringing around Goodison? We can't just put up with it.

Steavey Buckley
83 Posted 28/10/2015 at 14:13:04
A compromise situation with 2 goal-keepers instead of 1, with Howard stopping the shots and Robles coming out for crosses - may just work.
Andy Meighan
84 Posted 28/10/2015 at 14:42:27
An insult to every paying supporter. He's basically saying, "So he was at fault for both goals at Arsenal — don't tell me who to pick and who not to pick."

Old fat head Sam will be rubbing his hands at them words... can you imagine the amount of crosses coming into our box on Sunday? As if our home record isn't bad enough, I've a feeling it's about to get worse.

Players who are undroppable... is that what it's come to?

Harold Matthews
85 Posted 28/10/2015 at 14:50:25
Quite true Ian. We need to get the basics right. Keep things simple. No nutmegs in our own area Ross, show for the ball, keep the tempo up, no dithering, move it forward, no careless passes, no selfishness - Kone was waiting for a tap-in Rom, a fighting attitude and full concentration.

There's no rule against crossing it first time Seamus. No rule against putting your brain in gear and moving the ball on before you are crowded out Ross.

Sheffield Wednesday kept it simple, played as a team and murdered Arsenal. They went for a win and got it.

Brian Hennessy
86 Posted 28/10/2015 at 14:52:39
Gordon, Howard cannot command his 6 yard box never mind the 18.
David Pearl
87 Posted 28/10/2015 at 14:56:33
The same people saying that Robles needs to do one just a month or so ago now want him as our saviour. He had a good game. Yes. And he actually might be a long term successor. He's young and still has some jitters in him. Last night should give him a lot of confidence. For now he must keep working hard and keep performing when he is called upon.

Right now we need Howard's experience at the back with a young and relatively inexperience defence in front of him. Funes Mori does get caught out of position but I like the look of him and think he will get better.

And from last night I don't think much of Browning as a right back and wouldn't be surprised if he moves on in the next year or two. He hasn't looked great in reserve games I've watched either, playing as CB.

Patrick Murphy
88 Posted 28/10/2015 at 14:58:14
Harold (#70),

It's the same in any discipline before you can produce wonderful moments, you can only achieve those regularly when you have mastered the fundamentals. As a Rugby World Cup correspondent remarked about New Zealand:

"The Kiwis' sustained success is not all down to spontaneous counter-attacking and superb offloads, it's more that doing the basics well is always New Zealand's first instinct."

Nicholas Ryan
89 Posted 28/10/2015 at 15:03:59
Am I the only one to notice that Howard's decline as a keeper seems to have accelerated since Chris Woods ceased to be the goalkeeping coach?
Julian Wait
90 Posted 28/10/2015 at 15:18:07
Tim Howard is scarily like a fella I played with here in the states, even looks a bit like him; and he couldn't come out for / jump for a cross either. Part of me thinks it's a result of how the game was played over here back in the day when Tim Howard was learning.

I wonder if there's a deal pending for Howard to go to Kansas in January (see buyout rumors two weeks ago with Kansas known to have visited Everton earlier this season) ... and bring best-keeper-in-limbo-who-wants-to-stay-in-UK (Victor Valdes) from Man United?

Besides the fact that dropping a keeper who happens to be our current captain would be big news, such a planned January move is only logical explanation for such unrelenting support for Howard at this time. Robles has done all you could ask and deserves a chance in this context.

I like the approach above, i.e. playing Robles every other league match (plus playing Robles in the League Cup) and see how it works out ... I just know we don't have until January to teach 36-year-old Howard how to jump.

Come on Bobby, grow some cojones on this one. Bring Robles in, make McCarthy captain and Stones his vice-captain for now, and let's see how this new back 5 can do.

Darryl Ritchie
91 Posted 28/10/2015 at 15:21:23
Howard had better be on the top of his game, come Sunday. You have know that Big Sam is going to try and pepper the six yard box, Tim, and the rest of the back four, will have to organized and efficient.

If Howard plays Sunday, like he played last Saturday, we will lose...and RM will lose even more credibility.

Probably too late in the day to change your style now, but Tim, GET OFF YOUR LINE!!!

Keith Knowles
92 Posted 28/10/2015 at 15:28:17
Looks like another mid-table finish for us then!
James Stewart
93 Posted 28/10/2015 at 15:47:23
The constant stream of verbal diarrhea this man spouts is preposterous. I would rather piece my own eardrums with a knitting needle than listen to one of his press conferences. I never listen to any of his interviews either anymore, win, lost or draw.

I remain unconvinced by Robles but the fact of the matter is he got us through last night. To go out to Norwich at home and surrender our best chance of silverware would have been toxic for Martinez so he should be praising Robles to the heavens not blathering on about a keeper in terrible form. I don't personally know one single blue who rates Howard.

Gerard Carey
94 Posted 28/10/2015 at 16:06:37
Was it at the end of last season that Howard said something along the lines of that, that's that out of the way, meaning the 2014-15 season, all water under the bridge? We move on and forget about it!!!!!!, or something along those lines.

My point is, fans are fans for life, through thick or thin, and Everton ones are special. We all live, eat, breathe and sleep Everton. Most players are merceneries, couldn't give a shite about the fans, and probably include RM in that too.

Maybe we as fans look for too much, a team that plays attractive attacking football!!!!. Is it that difficult to do, this manager does not seem capable of doing that. Most of our players are internationals, there's something rotten somewhere!!!.

Surely Robles should keep his place, if not there really is something rotten going on.

Paul Jeronovich
95 Posted 28/10/2015 at 16:30:37
This is simple, if you make an error, you shake it off and put it out of your system and move on to the next game. If you persistently make the same mistakes, you work on this in training and sort it out. If then this still happens, you get dropped ffs.
Neil Gribbin
96 Posted 28/10/2015 at 16:38:45
This is the final straw for me.
I was willing to give the fraud a chance, but he can piss off. Now!!
Max Murphy
97 Posted 28/10/2015 at 17:07:01
This decision confirms we have a fool for a manager.
Kevin Rowlands
98 Posted 28/10/2015 at 17:10:15
I'm guessing most don't know this because you don't live in the States but Howard was participating in one of his 'other' jobs on Sunday co-commentating on the Manchester derby for NBC sports.

I kid you not he had the absolute audacity to criticize De Gea on his 'positioning' during the match, I mean seriously? After some of his bog average performances and a day after his Arsenal debacle he has the balls to slag off probably the best keeper in the EPL It shows the arrogance of the man. Just retire, Tim!
Callum McNab
99 Posted 28/10/2015 at 17:19:24
Well we can all see now how he got Wigan relegated. Basically players pick the team and we know from some games last season, decided the tactics as well.

Sadly through his stubbornness, a once liked and admired player is solely being turned into a hated figure. Not good for the team in any way.

Rob Halligan
101 Posted 28/10/2015 at 17:45:29
Cunning plan by Martinez. Telling the world Howard is playing Sunday. Fat Sam works out his tactics to bombard our penalty area with crosses and put Howard under pressure.

Come 12:30 on Sunday, team sheet goes in, Robles in goal. Fat Sam's tactics fucked and has no plan B. We win about 4-0 and everyone's happy!!

Raymond Fox
102 Posted 28/10/2015 at 17:46:36
First let me say I would pick Robles for the Sunderland game, but it wasn't too long ago that the majority on here was calling Robles the worst goalie in the world!

What about last night's results? Arsenal out, Chelsea out, Leicester — out all supposedly world class managers! What's their fans saying?

It would help Howard if he got some assistance off our defenders, because no-one particularly excels at getting off the ground to meet the crosses.
That's not to excuse Howard because he made two howlers against Arsenal and dealing with crosses is the weakest part of his game, granted.

Comments like sack the manager are way over the top though aren't they? 1st season: excellent; 2nd season: Europa League cost us 3 or 4 places for me; this season: with the fixtures, we've had a decent start.

To sack Martinez at this stage would be barmy, wouldn't it? Maybe Mourinho would join us!

Brian Hennessy
103 Posted 28/10/2015 at 18:03:00
Most Premier League teams play a weakened side in the League Cup, not our Bobby though.

He plays our best-form keeper in the cup and Howard in the league... unbelieveable.

Nitesh Kanchan
104 Posted 28/10/2015 at 18:10:59
There is also a possibility that Martinez wants to see Howard's response to that performance by Robles on Sunday and might drop him for the crucial game against Hammers if there is no improvement.
Ian Jones
105 Posted 28/10/2015 at 18:25:48
Brian. Perhaps we are going all out for the League Cup this year...
Darren Hind
107 Posted 28/10/2015 at 18:27:19
Happy to support Martinez this summer, but this is brainless. it's not just brainless its cowardly. He's deserves everything he's getting.

Those of a delicate nature would be well advised to wear blinkers and head phones this weekend, because if Howard has another Howler Evertonia will go into meltdown.

Ian Jones
108 Posted 28/10/2015 at 18:40:12
Steavey @ 77. Good plan. Might work. You could have one Howard as nominated keeper and Robles as centre half. Any corners. Just sawp keepers. Then swap again.

What about Jagielka when he comes back? He's not a bad keeper. Also allows Martinez to play in his 3 central defenders. Many teams play with a false number 9. We would have a false center-half.
Gordon Crawford
109 Posted 28/10/2015 at 18:45:52
Brian (#80), yeah, that's what I said and you're right. Southall and Martyn commanded their 18-yard box really well.
Des Farren
110 Posted 28/10/2015 at 19:04:54
Howard deserves dropping, I agree, but he has been awful for years now. It might have been prudent to buy a keeper in the summer but Martinez said he would not do so as it was not a priority.

I did not see many on here disagree and most were happy with the acquisition of Funes Mori so we can take it the money was not available for both a keeper and a centre-back.

Strange how many consider Robles the answer, on the back of so few appearances, not all of them good ones.

Paul Hewitt
111 Posted 28/10/2015 at 19:18:58
Martinez had better hope Howard doesn't cost us points on Sunday. The pressure will really be on him then.
David Greenwood
113 Posted 28/10/2015 at 19:42:17
I'm just not getting Roberto's man-management. It makes no sense and has done neither player any favours.
Terry Aylward
114 Posted 28/10/2015 at 20:29:12
All this criticism of Howard is going to come back and bite us. We could now see him trying to make amends by coming for balls that he should leave or vice versa, which in turn will spread panic through the rest of our defence.

What's done is done and all our moaning won't help. Let's just get behind whoever is selected and stop giving ammunition to our opponents.

Peter Weaver
115 Posted 28/10/2015 at 20:42:16
I must admit that I wasn't there to see Robles's apparently outstanding performance last night but, frankly, I have always considered him hopeless. I have a suspicion Roberto feels much the same and, given that he respects Tim as a senior figure in the team, he respects him too much to demote him.

Loyalty or weak management? At least he's no longer picking players because they played for Wigan!

Oliver Molloy
116 Posted 28/10/2015 at 21:05:47
Peter, weak management I would say.

I cannot recall too many times when players names were booed when the team is being announced at Goodison but I think it could happen on Sunday with Howard and only makes matters worse.

And if that doesn't increase the pressure on Howard you can bet your life that big Sam will be telling his players to do everything they can to increase it even more.

If Martinez plays Howard, he is risking a lot.

Tony Hill
117 Posted 28/10/2015 at 21:23:13
I truly hope no-one boos Howard. That would be disgraceful and there is a danger of us creating an atmosphere at Goodison which damages the team if we're not careful. There's a vicious circle in all this because the football being played flattens the crowd from the start and then the frustration builds and festers.

Anyway, let's give them a chance and get right behind them on Sunday - whoever is picked.

Colin Glassar
118 Posted 28/10/2015 at 21:36:06
Agreed Tony. Booing, imo, is only acceptable when a player isn't even trying. Lack of commitment and passion is a big no-no in my book. Just being useless I can accept.... to a degree.
Michael Polley
119 Posted 28/10/2015 at 21:52:53
Favouritism could be the downfall of RM. Robles deserves to play against Sunderland.

If Howard cocks up on Sunday I trhink the fans will actually drag him off the pitch and demand Robles to be brought on.

I'm worried about this game already which is crazy as it's Sunderland!!! But look what happened last season in this fixture. COYB... let's start playing decent direct football, and give us something to shout about.

Oliver Molloy
120 Posted 28/10/2015 at 21:59:22
And now we have Lukaku's super agent telling us that Martinez has said we will sell him if we get a good offer!
Michael Winstanley
121 Posted 28/10/2015 at 21:59:39
This is about three points at the end of the day, Howard has cost us plenty of them over the years for simply not having the bottle.

I have no faith in Howard; as a result, I've lost my enthusiasm for Martinez. It's a very obvious decision he's refusing to make, which makes me question the man.

How can someone who is taking us forward not see the obvious? If he can't see that, then what else is he missing? (Read any thread on here!)

I fear he's barking up the wrong tree again. Hope I'm wrong.

Anthony Dwyer
122 Posted 28/10/2015 at 22:02:48
I've stressed my point on this issue a number of times, I'm still on the fence a bit in the Howard v Robles debate.

Firstly I'd like to say Howard has been a great servant to Everton FC. But he was simply awful the whole of last season. He should have been left out of the team after Robles kept 3 clean sheets on the run.

That said I'm not impressed by Robles and I'm not confident with him in our goal. He is not good enough to play in our team and is a back up keeper at best. I stated all pre season we had to buy a first team keeper and nothing I've seen as of yet has changed that.

I'm sure a lot of you want Robles in the first team but I thought he was at fault for the goal in the League Cup: he was out of his goal and took too long to get back between the posts. Yes, he made other saves but all-in-all, I believe Howard is a better goalkeeper, for now at least.

Brian Wilkinson
123 Posted 28/10/2015 at 23:05:53
I was fearing the worst last night with Robles in goal, slated the guy on past performances, whatever he has done since then, he had a stormer last night and I hold my hands up about the guy.

Robles earned his chance to stay in the team Sunday, putting Howard back in is wrong, Howard now knows no matter how shite he plays, only injury or a red card will keep him out of the starting 11 in the Premier League.

Shame on you, Roberto; you may think you're being clever, but lose the fans and you will be on borrowed time.

Victor Jones
124 Posted 29/10/2015 at 02:43:10
Howard is bloody awful. Has been for a few seasons. Going back even to Moyes time. Yes, he makes some good saves... give the man a Blue Peter badge. That's what he is supposed to do.

Shame he cannot seem to catch or punch out a cross; shame that he cannot come out and command his box, or even his defence. And I don't even think that he is a great kicker of a football. Just watch his clearances which usually go straight out of play.

Two games always stick in my mind concerning Tim Howard. When he was sent off against Sunderland, a complete headless chicken performance. And a reckless challenge against Wolves; again, headless chickens spring to mind. Far to many mistakes. His days must be numbered.

And TBH Robles is not great either. Martinez is very poor when it comes to GKs, so god knows who we get in a few years time, if anybody. Maybe it will take a new manager on board before we get a top class keeper. Not good... not good at all. Squeaky bum time on Sunday, with The Beard back in goal. Expect to go behind yet again.

Mike Price
125 Posted 29/10/2015 at 04:21:24
He's lost a large section of support.

I originally thought he may have been a potentially good appointment, but his stubborn refusal of the blatantly obvious for so long has completely turned me against him.

His stubbornness, disregard for our support, and his inane ramblings, has actually made me start to dislike him as well.

Phil Sammon
126 Posted 29/10/2015 at 05:50:39
Perhaps Robles isn't the long term keeper for us, but for me, the issue runs deeper than that.

How can you have a team where there isn't competition for places? When a player gets injured his replacement should have the chance to fill his boots. Nobody should be able to walk back into the side, particularly when their own form has been very poor.

And what on earth is Martinez' defence that he's 'big in the dressing room'? You can't have a liability on the pitch just because he's a big character behind the scenes.

I dislike Howard and I always have, but I wouldn't boo him. It's not his fault, after all.

A good chorus of 'You don't know what you're doing' aimed at Martinez would be most welcome though. The guy is actually a terrible manager.

Harold Matthews
127 Posted 29/10/2015 at 07:35:48
Joel Robles has only made 34 senior appearances in his life. People knocking this lad should read that again. He's one of the least experienced keepers in the whole of Europe. Is it any wonder he finds himself slightly out of position now and then?

In Spain he played second fiddle to Courtois and De Gea. He now plays second fiddle to Howard.

All things considered, his display against Norwich was quite remarkable. 6'-5", age 25, his natural talent and easy going cheerful disposition make him the perfect Number Two. Every week, he sits on the bench and laughs and jokes with his team-mates. No fuss, no aggro. A manager's dream. A Martinez masterstroke.

Where the lad will go from here is anyone's guess. Competitive experience would gradually erase his weak points but much will depend on the level of his ambition. He's on a far better wage than he would get in Spain and after sitting on various benches since the age of 15, he may be content with his lot. At least, with an FA Cup winners medal already in his pocket, he'll have more to show than Howard and most of his team-mates.

Laurie Hartley
128 Posted 29/10/2015 at 08:19:39
Well, Harold ,I am 66 and 5'10" (I used to be 5'11" but I think I have shrunk).

I hope your suspicion that Robles might be quite happy being the second string is wrong. At 25 and 6'5" I am hoping the lad still has an ego. If I was him I would be having a talk with the manager and asking him what I had to do to get the top job.

6'5" and 25 – there's a song in there somewhere.

Thomas Surgenor
129 Posted 29/10/2015 at 09:15:22
If I were the manager (and none of us are), I would reward Robles with a few games to see how he goes.
He should never have been dropped after the clean sheets last season.

Unfortunately, Roberto's team selection for Saturday is going to get criticised one way or another. If he starts Robles, wouldn't that create a likely scenario where Barry is captain? Imagine the outcry on here for that one. I know Ossie is next in line but I doubt he will start after playing 120 minutes the other night.

Dave Abrahams
130 Posted 29/10/2015 at 09:31:56
Harold (114) you have a point, as usual, regarding Robles and how ambitious he is, Liverpool had a goalkeeper Warner, who stayed at Anfield for quite a few years, rarely played, was on a ٟ,000 per week, very good money then and was more content with that than pushing for a move and permanent first team football.

He eventually did move and played for Fulham and, I think Middlesbrough until well into his late thirties. I think he also won one European cup medal as Liverpool's reserve goalie.

I hope Robles has more ambition than that.

Sean Kelly
131 Posted 29/10/2015 at 09:51:52
Here we go again: Howard v Robles. I thought the task of a manager was to prepare for the now and the future. Well, if Robles isn't the future, what's he doing here. Martinez in his first season should have brought in a first team keeper to compete with Howard. He hasn't don't that and wasted millions on loanees for midfield.

Martinez is full of himself. I have stopped listening to his drivel a long time ago.

Peter Weaver
132 Posted 29/10/2015 at 09:55:49
I must say that I have always hoped that Howard's successor will be a lot more accomplished than Robles who, to me, is nothing above ordinary.

For all his indecision over high crosses, I would gamble he has saved many that The Spaniard would have spilled and believe him still to be the better keeper overall – although I don't think that's saying much, really !

Ray Roche
133 Posted 29/10/2015 at 10:27:42
Peter (#119),

On what evidence do you regard Howard as more accomplished than Robles is in Howard's recent form?

As Harold states, Robles has had very few starts in his career, but his performance on Tuesday was exceptional for a man with so little time between the sticks during his spell at Everton. And his three consecutive clean sheets last season were rewarded with his spot back on the bench by Martinez. Poor management. As for his ambition, we don't know what promises Martinez has made in order to keep him happy, or maybe he has no ambition.

We will only know for sure how good Robles could be if he has an extended run in the team. It's difficult to see how much worse he could be than Howard is right now.

Peter Weaver
134 Posted 29/10/2015 at 10:50:53
If truth be told, Ray, I don't rate either of them very highly. Perhaps I just think, on balance, Howard has less mistakes in him than Robles.

Howard's future is a long time behind him whilst I fear Robles will never have one. Not here, anyway.

Peter Carpenter
135 Posted 29/10/2015 at 10:53:14
The legendary Midlands sports presenter, Gary Newbon (surely a forerunner of Alan Partridge), once put a long-winded question to beleaguered Birmingham City manager Terry Cooper. The exasperated Cooper replied,

"Look Gary, it's simple – if you've got good players you'll have a good team. If you haven't got good players you won't have a good team." End of interview.

So, Roberto, to paraphrase, if you haven't got a good goalkeeper you won't have a good team. Just pick the goalkeeper who is in better form, is more agile, more confident, stops more shots, commands his box more and is more committed. Simple. I'll do it for you if you are scared of upsetting anyone.

Harold, I watched the Under-21 game v Schalke last week and you could hear Robles throughout, shouting instructions, encouragement etc. He looked like someone who is determined to do as well as he can rather than being content to sit on the bench. Now is the time to give him his chance.

He seems to have something about him that you need in a team. I noticed it at the West Ham cup tie last season, despite the disappointment and missing the decisive penalty himself, he didn't sulk but had his head up and went to the fans.

Two others who also seem to have that spirit are Oviedo and (early days I know) Funes Mori. This is in contrast to the players who lose the ball, stand still, put their arms out wide and look around for someone else to get it back.

I think this goalkeeping issue highlights a wider one about team spirit in general and, in my opinion, we are walking a tightrope right now and it could go either way. Sunday should be interesting.

Ray Roche
136 Posted 29/10/2015 at 11:08:54
Peter (#121),

I'm on record on this site as saying that I regard Howard as one of the top four keepers AFTER Southall, West and Martyn that I've seen here since I started going the match in 1959. However, he's way past his sell-by date and is now costing us points on a regular basis. He must be replaced sooner rather than later and I would certainly give Robles a chance and a run in the team. It's difficult to rate a player when we have seen so little of them.

Unfortunately, at Goodison the fans have a tendency to turn on players once their star has faded; if the boo boys start on Howard, the effect would be disastrous to the confidence of him and the team.

Brian Wilkinson
137 Posted 29/10/2015 at 12:28:19
Peter@121 I prefered Howard to Robles, I went Tuesday night and now changed my views, Robles put in a performance that deserved another chance on Sunday.

Robles will make mistakes, but he will learn with more game time. Howard has cost us points this season and still walks in the team.

Playing Robles on Sunday would have rewarded him for putting in a performance on Tuesday, and given Howard a kick up the backside to up his game.

Sorry but Martinez has lost my support on this one.

Scott Goin
138 Posted 29/10/2015 at 13:30:51
I've never been entirely convinced with Robles. He's not the answer to Everton's goalkeeping problem. I also believe that Howard has better communication with his back line than Robles. That being said, Howard is in a bad patch and probably should be benched (at least while Robles maintains good form).

Martinez's ONLY concern is for Everton to play well and win matches. If he's playing Howard, he honestly believes that gives us the best chance to win going forward. Possibly Robles shows a lot of indecision during practice sessions. We see him once every month or two. Roberto sees him every day.

Gary Drain
139 Posted 29/10/2015 at 16:36:07
How quickly we forget! How many points has Howard saved us since he has been at the club?

Could any other keeper have stopped the two Arsenal goals going in? The first was from an undefendable cross and header from close range that not many other world class keepers would have saved! And the second goal came from, and not for the first time, Stones not being able to mark from set-pieces!!

It's all too easy to blame the keeper because, if he makes a mistake, it usually ends in a goal... but, from what I saw, he couldn't do anything about either!

It's about time people stopped looking for the same old excuses and blaming someone who has been one of our greatest servants of recent times.

Victor Jones
140 Posted 29/10/2015 at 18:55:43
Everton 3 Chelsea 6. Anybody who thinks that Howard is a good keeper, well re-watch that game. A top keeper would have kept us in that game... but not Howard.

I can name numerous games were Tim Howard has cost us. And only a few were he won us the game. And yes, we have 10 other players on the pitch. And yes they are often just as useless as Howard is. But the buck stops with the goalkeeper.

A top keeper would benefit the development of our young defenders, and that includes Stones. He is not the polished item just yet but imagine Stones playing in front of a Big Nev or Gordon West, like Lyons and Mountfield did. Experience like nothing that Howard brings to the table. It's time we had another top class goalkeeper.

Sorry people, but I also blame Howard for the FA Cup Final defeat to Chelsea; some people still think that he is a shot-stopper. Would we have won the FA Cup in '95 with a keeper like Tim Howard? I think not. That's how I look at things. A top goalkeeper makes all the difference. The spine of a team starts with the goalkeeper.

John Crawley
141 Posted 29/10/2015 at 19:00:16
Gary you must have been watching a different game to the rest of us! If it was only two goals against Arsenal I doubt nearly 90% of us would want Howard dropped. It's been 18 months of very poor goalkeeping by Howard which has got us to where we are. You know there's a serious problem with Howard when people like Ray Roche are saying he should be dropped.

It's time to give Robles his chance because he cannot be any worse or be at fault for so many goals. Meantime I would be taking a chance on Daniel Bentley the young Southend goalie, it's only a matter of time before he's snapped up by a Premier League team.

John Keating
142 Posted 29/10/2015 at 19:43:36
Gary 128, I have to agree with John, you must have been watching a completely different game. What about the Ings goal, what excuse did he have there? The list is endless mate.

Scott 127, I think the communication between the lot of the team is atrocious. If you actually watch them, there is very little talk between any of them.

Pre-season brought this home to me as I'd never really noticed it before then. When we played Hearts and they scored the opening goal, surprise, surprise, a corner into the 6-yard box that saw Howard rooted to the spot. Nobody said a bloody word from marking them up for the corner until picking the ball out the net!

It was telepathy I'm positive, well attempted telepathy. We have no talkers in our squad.

Andrew Laird
143 Posted 29/10/2015 at 20:01:04
"It's all too easy to blame the keeper because if he makes a mistake it usually ends in a goal but, from what I saw he couldn't do anything about either!"

You are completely correct, Gary, he could do nothing about either goal because he has the anticipation of a sloth and the footwork of Heather Mills after 20 Babychams.

Raymond Fox
144 Posted 29/10/2015 at 20:48:35
Martinez has always stressed that fitting into the squad character wise is a priority with him.

It seems to me that, at the start of each season, he picks his anchor men in each position if possible, so Howard being a senior member and his first choice pick would be one of them. Others being Jagielka, Coleman, Baines, McCarthy, Barry and Lukaku plus this season he must include Stones because of his quality even though he's relatively inexperienced.

He probably asks that they fully commit to the team and himself and that he in return will support them through thick and thin!

Now you can argue that it is or it isn't the best way to go about, it but it seems to me that this what is going on in regards Howard's selection.

RM's not afraid to put his neck on the block I'll say that about him as in Howard's case and his willingness to give young players a chance.

Howard's sailing very close to the wind now and Roberto will no doubt be forced to drop him if he continues to make blunders.

Neil Monaghan
146 Posted 30/10/2015 at 06:08:03
To be fair, and I think most of you will agree, Tim Howard has been a brilliant servant to our club and I personally think he has done a fantastic job over the last 7-8 years. Over a 100 clean sheets is nothing to turn your nose up at, (112) especially considering we only paid ١ million for him.

But age catches up with us all, and I would hope he would be the first to admit that he is really struggling at the moment. Robles should be given his chance, especially considering Tuesday's performance, and to be fair it's probably worth mentioning what he did for us last season when, given his chance, three games, three clean sheets (correct me if I'm wrong) then dropped as soon as Howard was available again.

Giving Robles his chance may even give Tim an incentive to prove that he deserves the Number One spot, which can only benefit Everton. But for Martinez to come out and say what he said is just crazy. For two reasons:

1. Tim Howard won't put in a worse performance (fingers crossed) this season than he did against Arsenal, but it doesn't matter according to Martinez. He's basically telling Tim, "It's fine, it does not matter, consistently play bad and I'll pick you anyway." Very inspiring, would definitely give him that extra bit of incentive to try harder.

2. Joel Robles may as well give up; he was my Man of the Match against Norwich, he gave everything and probably had the performance of his career so far at Everton. He made some really fantastic saves during the game (header going in the top corner springs to mind) and a great penalty save as well. I can't remember when Howard put in a performance like that, answers on a postcard please. Imagine how Joel must have felt when he heard his manager's comments, straight after the game no less. Brutal.

So, from what I can conclude from Roberto's statement, as crazy as it sounds: "Tim, play well, play bad, no worries — you are the first name on the team sheet."

"Joel, put it in son, have the game of your life, because — regardless of how you play, or in fact how badly Tim plays, it won't matter as it still may be a while before you get another game." What does Joel do with that? I ask.

Obviously I'm making a lot of assumptions here, but I'm just calling it as I see it. Astonishing, it doesn't make sense to me.

Raymond Fox
147 Posted 30/10/2015 at 12:26:08
Neil, we don't know what goes on behind doors, but you can bet your bottom dollar that RM will give criticism and rollockings to bad play from any one of the players.

My guess is that he will have had conversation, probably in private in Howard's case and tell him to practice and improve on high balls into the box or else he will be dropped. There's no way that after each game played it is not picked to pieces at team meetings and certain players told to improve in certain areas for the next game.

Off topic, I know but if the best player in each position from all the clubs is chosen would we have any players in that team? I very much doubt it! That's the main reason we find it extremely difficult to win any trophies.

Jim Lloyd
148 Posted 30/10/2015 at 12:50:11
Spot on, Ray.
Scott Goin
149 Posted 30/10/2015 at 13:40:43
I agree with Ray. Just because Roberto is saying one thing to the media doesn't mean he's saying the same things behind closed doors.

Robles is just a short-term bandaid with weak adhesive. Martinez has likely already determined that or else he would have been given more of a chance.

This is about Howard and if he can regain form. If he can't, Roberto needs to know now so he can maybe make a move in the January window.

Jay Harris
150 Posted 30/10/2015 at 16:34:18
I have heard it all now.

I don't know any other manager that would come out and say it is OK to make mistakes and you won't be punished for it.

I don't care what he says in private but to come out publically and say that is absolutely unprofessional.

No wonder our play is inconsistent and the players do not put enough effort in but that's okay cos Roberto says you will still get a game as long as you cosy up to him and his methods.

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