Tim Howard has signed an extension at Everton that will keep him at the club through 2018.
The club confirmed the news on Twitter Thursday:
Speaking to EvertonTV, via EvertonFC.com, manager Roberto Martinez said:
It is fantastic news. To have Tim Howard performing as he has been this season, I cannot see past him to choose the best goalkeeper in the league. For him, in such an important year with the World Cup around the corner, to commit his future for the long term is an incredible moment for the dressing room. I am extremely proud of Tim’s achievements for the football club. On top of his goalkeeping, it’s his overall demeanour and personality in the dressing room. He is a strong leader.
Football correspondent James Corbett was one of many Everton supporters pleased to see the contract extension:
Great news that Tim Howard has extended his Everton contract. In the best form of his career and getting better and better— James Corbett (@james_corbett) April 17, 2014
Since arriving at Goodison Park in 2006, Howard has become one of the most consistent goalkeepers in the Premier League and a backbone of Everton's squad.
He's only the fourth keeper in the club's history to record 100 clean sheets, as ESPN's Paul Carr shares:
Tim Howard signs Everton extension through 2017-18. Saturday he became 4th Everton keeper w/ 100 league clean sheets.— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) April 17, 2014
His 116 clean sheets are the 10th-most in EPL history, per OptaJoe:
116 - Tim Howard has kept 116 clean sheets in the Premier League, the 10th highest total in the competition's history. Contracted.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 17, 2014
The case could be made that Howard is the best American to play in England's first division, ahead of players like Brian McBride, Clint Dempsey, Brad Friedel and Claudio Reyna.
Given the fact that he has shown no signs of slowing down over the past few seasons, an extension is well-deserved and makes a lot of sense for the club. Goalkeepers play at a much higher level into their mid to late 30s than outfield players do, so there isn't much of a threat that Howard's form will take a major slide between now and 2018.
What this extension also means for Howard is that he'll almost certainly end his career as an Everton player. The only other logical choice should he leave would be heading back to Major League Soccer, where he played with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars from 1998 to 2003. Yet even that would seem out of the picture, considering Howard would be approaching 40 four years from now.
For the time being, Howard will be looking to push Everton into the top four. If it happens, it will no doubt be the greatest accomplishment in what has been an already impressive career.