Martinez focused on the present where Howard is concerned

by | 13/01/2016  37 Comments  [Jump to last]

Roberto Martinez says he can't say for sure whether Tim Howard will be with Everton beyond the summer but he continues to stand by his first-choice goalkeeper who will almost certainly be recalled for this evening's visit to the Etihad Stadium.

The American's long-time understudy, Joel Robles, has played in the last two cup games, recording his fifth and sixth wins of the season in the process, but neither Howard's chequered form nor calls from supporters for the Spaniard to be given his chance to prove he is capable of making the starting berth his own have moved Martinez.

The Catalan continues to highlight Howard's experience as being a vital ingredient in his Everton side and clearly feels that too much is made of his mistakes but Howard's deteriorating relationship with some among the Goodison Park faithful has been cause for concern recently.

The former Manchester United 'keeper's command of his area has been been questioned frequently this season and he was seen sarcastically clapping the Gwladys Street End in two recent home games after they cheered when he caught routine crosses.

I dont think he was being sarcastic, Martinez said of the incidents in The Guardian. He cares about our football club and has an incredible attachment to it. He is trying to interact with the fans with the experience he has.

"Tim would never blame a defender for his mistake and I appreciate that. Tim has got 350 appearances in the Premier League which is a record for Everton. He is part of our club and our badge.

He had mistakes but he had big moments," continued Martinez, who highlighted Howard's recent save at Newcastle United as evidence of the latter. "We need to be more understanding that sometimes youre going to get that. His day-to-day work shows me the strength, power and positive effect he has on young players. I feel we are a stronger team with Tim Howard in the dressing room.

Although the 36-year-old signed a new four-year contract in 2014 that tied him to Goodison until the age of 39 there has been speculation that, despite his adamant assertions to the contrary, he might return to the United States and MLS football before seeing that new deal out.

It is impossible to say that, Martinez responded on that question. We need to take it game by game and week by week. I want Tim to feel stronger in every game. Watching him in training I dont see a sign of weakness or him being worn down or tired.

"It is the opposite. He is up for the challenge, up for helping the team and keeping up standards. Im sure every experience will affect what you want to do in the summer.

We shouldnt look that far away. We are here with a real focus of winning on Wednesday. That is all that matters. We have a incredible squad, a group of players here that Im excited about and Im looking forward to seeing them develop and Tim Howard is a big part of that. Whatever happens at the end of the season you cannot guess it now and it would be wrong to try to guess that.  

Reader Comments (37)

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Colin Battison
2 Posted 13/01/2016 at 00:47:10
I don't know what Robles has to do to keep the jersey. It's beyond a joke really.
Phil Sammon
3 Posted 13/01/2016 at 00:57:41
I'm actually starting to feel a bit sorry for Howard – which is something I thought I'd never say. Tim is arrogant and I don't like him but Martinez is putting him in an impossible position now.

I don't think there would be half as much pressure from the fans if Robles hadn't come in and performed so well, only to be dismissed.

No player should be undroppable and Martinez set a completely idiotic precedent by stating that the goalkeeperspot was Tim Howard's 'to lose'.

The whole situation has been handled horribly.

David Ellis
4 Posted 13/01/2016 at 01:34:01

I don't get that. Surely Martinez has been nothing but supportive of Howard?? Are you saying that Howard would be better off being dropped?

Personally I think his lack of command of the penalty area is an issue and it's time to move on. Whether Robles is the answer I don't know but time will tell. Fortunately 'keepers are not super expensive and there's plenty of really good ones that will join for first team football.

Howard has been amongst the best half dozen in the league for most of his time at Everton and we will want to get someone who is at that level – which at the moment Howard is not (and Robles may never be).

Peter Barry
5 Posted 13/01/2016 at 02:01:40
We don't need a Startled Starfish – we need a keeper the defense can be confident in.
Gavin Johnson
6 Posted 13/01/2016 at 02:03:58
You've got to admire Roberto on some level for picking the blundering Howard in a game of this magnitude when Robles has played so well and is seen as our Cup GK.

If Howard cocks up tonight and we lose the game. I think he'll lose a lot the faith and good will from even his most ardent TW supporters.

Gavin Johnson
7 Posted 13/01/2016 at 02:10:28
Just to add. I mean 'he' as in Martinez.

I think it's crazy to play Howard in this game. I hope Howard repays Martinez's blind faith in him and plays at his vintage best. Which is now a distant memory many have of him that has been slowly eroded over the last 2 seasons.

Ernie Baywood
8 Posted 13/01/2016 at 02:17:39
Ultimately Roberto picks him so if he's past his best it's Roberto's judgement that is rightly in question.

But I don't think we can dismiss the role of our supporters in the criticism of Howard by our supporters can we?

Anto Byrne
9 Posted 13/01/2016 at 02:57:56
Perhaps Howard will break a toenail and be out for the rest of the season? Unfortunately Howard's days are numbered and now the crowd is getting on his case. The guy has done a terrific job and now is the time to move to the MLS.

I can think of several games this season where poor keeping has lost us points and the free header against the redshite was very poor especially as that ball had the keepers name on it.
William Cartwright
10 Posted 13/01/2016 at 03:53:33
Wise up guys, this situation is being business driven with Tim's long term ambassadorial relationship with Everton in the US being carefully stage managed.

Roberto is not completely stupid. Also he knows Premier League 4th spot is actually less of a gamble, and less high profile in the USA than the cups. Watch, wait and all will be revealed (or perhaps not!)
Harold Matthews
11 Posted 13/01/2016 at 03:57:18
He likes him in training where we don't do crosses, set pieces and commanding the area. It's all close in shot-stopping and legwork. He also likes his experience in the dressing room which I can't argue about. He'll have plenty to say and the youngsters will listen. Must also agree that Howard, unlike many keepers, never blames the defenders for failing to stop crosses and shots and for being weak in the air.

All the same, I do think he is full of his own importance and I haven't liked him for years. How he got himself a new 4-year contract is beyond me. Joel Robles is now our No 1 keeper and I want him to play every match. Okay, like all keepers he will make mistakes, as demonstrated by Hennesey last night, but I feel safer when he is between the sticks. Something Martinez has never said. Our boss has always stated that he feels safer when he sees Tim in the dressing room. Maybe it's time for him to stay there.

David Ellis
13 Posted 13/01/2016 at 06:21:54
Ha ha – very good, Harold.
Robin Cannon
14 Posted 13/01/2016 at 07:12:34
@William (9) - Not true. 4th, and the league in general, are way higher profile in the US than the cups. League Cup is confined to "BEin Sport" channel, FA Cup on sports specific Fox channels. That's versus blanket coverage of every Premier League game on NBC's channels, including a lot on their main channel, with their own "Match of the Day" and other highlights shows.

I agree with Phil (2) that Howard is actually being put in a difficult position, too. No player is going to turn around to the manager and say "no, boss, you should pick the other guy". So it's Martinez who keeps putting him out their regardless of form, and opening him up to a critical relationship with the fans that's undermining what I think is a generally reasonably positive legacy for him at the club.

Ian Jones
15 Posted 13/01/2016 at 07:29:03
Anto @ 8. Whilst I am not a big admirer of Howard these days, I think the example you have chosen vs Liverpool when Ings scored was, although poor by Howard, was not the best example!

It also shows a defence that disappeared to leave Ings with a free header. Not sure who was marking him but I seem to remember as the corner came across Naismith ran around the front of Ings to possibly head the ball away. Both he and (might have been) Stones got under the ball and didn't deal with it.

Ian Jones
16 Posted 13/01/2016 at 07:55:24
Also, despite some of the fans' reservations about Tim Howard, and however difficult it may be to support Howard at this time and however unfair it may be for Robles, he does seem set to stay in goal for the league matches, so perhaps it might be easier to just get on with it. Agree to disagree with Martinez and support Howard while he's in the team. He's obviously having a difficult time defending against 11 in the opposition team, defending with at times a dodgy defence in his own team, and now against parts of the Everton crowd.

Of course if he acknowledged he hasn't been at his best for some time, or saw the humour and sarcasm from the crowd, accepted it with good grace and responded better, it might be easier for us to accept him.

Paul Mackie
18 Posted 13/01/2016 at 08:35:14
Robles should play. Not because Howard has been crap lately (although he has), but because it will give Robles more practice against City's attack for the second semi. I'm staggered that Martinez doesn't seem to be thinking that way. Either he has no faith on Robles or too much faith in Howard.
Tony Abrahams
19 Posted 13/01/2016 at 08:43:11
Some people can never acknowledge that they are not doing good enough, and why should they when the manager continues to play them?

Been done to death, but even if you don't like Howard, it's got to be accepted that he doesn't pick the team. I think it's already backfired on the team, but wether it backfires on the manager remains to be seen.

Sam Hoare
20 Posted 13/01/2016 at 09:12:15
Giving Howard a 4-year contract till 39 is laughable to be honest in the present day and age. Especially given that Tim's from has been on the downward slope for the last two years.

He goes on and on about his invaluable experience in directing the youngsters which may be true off the pitch but on the pitch the nervousness in the defence is palpable and its no coincidence that we've conceded the most goals in the top 15 teams in the league. I do think Howard has been a good keeper for us at times but at the moment Robles has to be starting, his form is better and he potentially represents the future of this club rather than the past.

John Crawley
21 Posted 13/01/2016 at 09:24:42
I sit behind the goal in the Gladwys Street and I can tell you Howard doesn't communicate with his defence. The difference when Robles plays is very noticeable as he is regularly talking to the defence. That said the real problem here is the manager and not Howard, any vitriol should be directed towards him and not the player.
Don Alexander
22 Posted 13/01/2016 at 09:49:49
This is what defines Martinez's ineptitude, apart from tactics: Last season, he thought he knew more than his specialist staff about preventing/restoring soft tissue injuries. They left, he stayed, the injuries increased.

This season, he apparently thinks he knows more about goalkeeping than Neville Southall does so Howard stays, we lose, and the season is another write-off.

Prove me wrong, Martinez, please. String two or three months together where we lose just a few points and prove me wrong.

Brin Williams
23 Posted 13/01/2016 at 09:53:40
I am in the Robles camp but to be fair I no longer think this is about Howard's current performances – it is about Martinez.

I do think Howard will leave at the end of the season, he knows it and so does Martinez.

Martinez is no pussy but he does have loyalty to his players, to the extent of playing them when he shouldn't and hanging on when he should be rid.

His attitude is changing and not before time, like his young up-and-coming players he too is on a steep learning curve and his management skills are gradually improving, to my mind.

So why hang on to Tim – because this is his last chance saloon , he is a Yank and we are supposedly in negotiations with Yanks about the future of our great club – who knows but perhaps with his experience they already have some role of him in their setup. (??)

As a Yank, he will have set himself targets, no doubt having most Everton appearances was one of them, but that is now out of the way another major target would have been Champions League but he ain't going to get that any time soon! So what's left and why keep him as No 1 – he wants some silverware to take home with him and that is what Martinez believes will keep him on his toes with a determination to get us a trophy. Robles has one, he also has time and he has probably been told by his mentor, Martinez, to sit still and keep quiet until the summer as the job is already his to make a balls of.

Like any manager, in football or industry, he will have his team sometimes they need juggling, sometimes you stake the farm on them and quite often they let you down. I am sure his players will feel comforted in that loyal streak; some may become complacent, others will have their chance to impress, Robles has done it so has Besic, Barkley and Galloway. Others will have their opportunity in due course.

Andy Meighan
24 Posted 13/01/2016 at 10:10:37
Howard must be pissing down his leg at Martinez. Thinking to himself, "No matter what I play like, I'm keeping my place". Laughable, it really is.
Steve Guy
25 Posted 13/01/2016 at 11:34:21
Excellent chance for a like-for-like comparison. Man City away tonight, he plays Howard; Man City away in two weeks time, he plays Robles.

Not a complete apples for apples and clearly a number of variables, but I do think it provides the basis for comparison on two goalkeepers on a number of the concerns expressed in recent months.
Brian Porter
26 Posted 13/01/2016 at 12:48:03
The saddest part about Martinez's continued stubbornness in playing Howard is that it is more than likely to ultimately lead to the departure of players like Lukaku and Stones, maybe more. They want success and they'll know they're not going to achieve it in a team with Howard in goal. Why can't Martinez see what everyone else can? TH is costing us points, league position and potentially our best players. Harsh? Yes, but true to my way of thinking.
Jay Harris
29 Posted 13/01/2016 at 14:16:18
This just demonstrates he hasn't got the balls to be a top manager. He should have taken Tim to one side long before it got to this stage and told him he was giving Robles a run in the side.

There is no greater influence than a Hibbo or an Ossie in the dressing room. That doesn't mean they should play in every game .

Form should be the deciding factor – not how big a mouth you have.

Patrick Murphy
30 Posted 13/01/2016 at 14:24:38
Compare and contrast De Gea and Tim Howard and the number of points that the Manchester United keeper has saved his team this season. Without the Spaniard, United would be as low as Everton in the league and perhaps lower. De Gea in the Everton goal would have seen the Blues occupy a much loftier position in the table.

It is the manager's right and responsibility to choose the player he feels are best equpped to do the job, if he believes that to be Tim, then fine, however it doesn't show too much confidence in Robles. If Tim is only the best of a bad pair, it also means that Roberto should be buying a keeper as soon as possible.

We should also be in the market for another striker, relying on one player for the entire season is foolish in the extreme, but that is the managers choice and he'll reap the rewards or otherwise of his decisions come the end of the season.

William Cartwright
32 Posted 13/01/2016 at 15:18:19
Robbie 12) You're correct. I expressed myself the wrong way round if that makes sense! I'm getting too old for this. The USA are more focused on the league and the cups are to them a sideshow. Therefore Howard's exposure is more valuable to a potential American consortium. Providing of course he performs!

Consider also a possibly even bigger picture where the USA have been isolated from top level footy for so long but now they see the global appeal and influence which equals dollars passing them by? No way. Hence they are driving a moral crusade against FIFA (which is long overdue).

Martinez has squared up the interests probably pushed by BK and is dealing with it accordingly. If this is the case, then I think his 'mis-management' of recent games is not as bad as we think.

Also consider this "off the wall" notion. Every team has an off form period in the season. What if, acknowledging this, Roberto engineered the most suitable 11 grouping to deal with the lesser teams, and we will pull our fingers out against the bigger teams with more skilled and fresher legs later on? A high performance run in at the end of the season would do for me. What undermines the logic of the above is the things he's not in control of such as sheer bad luck against the likes of Palace etc., individual errors, injuries and poor refereeing. All the things that make footy such an interesting sport to follow.

I have been as critical of Robert as much as anyone else, and to some extent still am, but I just don't buy in to the wholesale negativity thing. It;s too easy and possibly way off the mark. Pound for point we are still one of, if not the best managed team of the lot and that is an incredible statistic. It could be translated into we are the champions of the level playing field. COYB!!!!!

Dave Abrahams
37 Posted 13/01/2016 at 16:28:59
I don't think for one minute that Howard will walk away at the end of the season without him getting some payment for the rest of his contract which still will have three years to run.

Whoever decided that Howard deserved another four-year contract at his age, wants to take a good look at himself.

Denis Richardson
38 Posted 13/01/2016 at 16:31:34
Well, whatever Martinez thinks now or in the summer, HE gave Howard an extended contract until 2019!

If we want to ship him out in the summer the club will need to pay him 3 years wages(!) – unless Howard asks for a transfer, which I somehow can't see that happening.

Robin Cannon
39 Posted 13/01/2016 at 16:39:25
@William (26) – A, got you. Yeah, the league is definitely the big one in terms of profile in the US.

I think there's a danger in exaggerating how important Tim Howard is to the profile, though. I don't imagine the consortium buyers give a crap whether Tim Howard is in goal or Robles. There was a short period after the World Cup where he had a super high profile, but that time's long gone. Now, I don't think he really has any impact on how Everton are viewed over here.

Derek Wadeson
40 Posted 13/01/2016 at 16:49:00
I remember Gordon West going through a similar dip in form in 1970. His answer to the Street End's sarcastic cheering in a European Cup match when he caught the ball, was to put it down on the turf, turnaround a give us a two-handed V-sign.

Dave Abrahams
41 Posted 13/01/2016 at 16:58:48
Derek (#30) the game I saw when the crowd turned on Gordon West, he was that upset he moved right away from his goal line by the penalty spot, and stayed there until the other team, who were not very good, attacked again. The Everton crowd, that night in the Street End, stunk, and we're a disgrace to the club they professed to support.

For all Gordon's banter with football crowds, he was very highly strung and was physically sick with nerves before a lot of his games with Everton.

John Daley
43 Posted 13/01/2016 at 17:06:18
"Pound for point we are still one of, if not the best managed team of the lot and that is an incredible statistic. It could be translated into we are the champions of the level playing field"

I used to hate hearing that sort of shit when Moyes was here. Even harder to swallow now. Brings up a little bit of sick at the back of the throat as well

Brian Wilkinson
45 Posted 13/01/2016 at 18:39:07
I think the cat was startled last Saturday, when our goalkeeper actually came off his line to approach the cat.

Have to agree playing Robles tonight with the cup game coming up was a no brainer, why he has gone for Howard baffles me.

This could also stoke the fire if Howard has another stinker, then Robles plays well in the cup game, even then, against any reasonable logic, Howard will still be recalled after the cup game.

Sami Fam
47 Posted 13/01/2016 at 18:53:29
Tim's time is up.

Time for Robles to be given a fair chance and get the info we need on what type of goalkeeper we should acquire in the summer. (A new Number 1, or backup to Robles?)

Rob Hooton
48 Posted 13/01/2016 at 19:08:30
Very good Jamie, you guys do get some stick and I hope you continue to give as good as you get and have a laugh with it, t'is all tongue in cheek!

I think we should support Howard in what will hopefully be his final half season, it's down to RM to drop him if he drops another clanger. He was part of an awesome defence and it's a shame it's turning sour.

COYB, let's get some long overdue silverware!!

Jimmy Salt
49 Posted 13/01/2016 at 22:47:10
Tim played well tonight
James Royston
50 Posted 14/01/2016 at 16:21:39
I am no fan of Howard but he has over the years done quite – if not outstandingly well for us. However, it is clear that he has come to the end of his time with far too many vital mistakes which have without doubt cost us games or at least a draw instead of a win.

We do not know if Robles is the answer but he has to play more to make that decision. There is quite a strong rumour that apparently it is possible Tim has some personal/family problem with a suggestion that his family have or are about to return to the States. Then again, who knows where these stories start... If he goes, I feel we should thank him for his better displays & wish him well whatever he decides.

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