SAN FRANCISCO – Everton may have signed Joel Robles as competition this summer, but Roberto Martinez's admiration for incumbent goalkeeper Tim Howard is clear.
The U.S. international saved the final shot, from Federico Peluso, in a penalty shootout win over Juventus in the Guinness International Champions Cup on Wednesday night following a 1-1 draw. Prior to that, Howard pulled off a string of saves to keep Juventus at bay with the game wrapping to a close in AT&T Park.
“Tim Howard showed that he's not just a goalkeeper for us, he's a true leader,” Martinez said. “There was a spell of 10 minutes that you would expect Juventus, putting all the pressure, to get a goal. And you need really strong characters to keep you in the game, and the team did that with superb goalkeeping.
“But then to go into penalties, you couldn't have a better man standing in goal. Probably it's a better way to go through that way after Tim Howard saved the final penalty, because he really deserved the headline for this one. A true Tim Howard performance.”
The 34-year-old American joined the Toffees from Manchester United half a decade ago. During that time he has locked down a starting role for Everton as well as the U.S. national team.
“I want to go a bit further than what he brings on the pitch,” Martinez said. “He's a true professional. He's got incredibly high standards. He leads the group. And you can only imagine what influence he has in the locker room.”
Everton finished sixth in the Premier League last season under David Moyes, and Howard targets continued success under Martinez.
“It's still early stages and we're in preseason with a long way to go, but that's the plan,” Howard said. “Hopefully we won't back down or fear anybody in the Premier League.”
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