Exclusive: Everton's Tim Howard on Moyes, Martinez and Life After Football

Ian Rodgers@irodgers66World Football Staff WriterDecember 17, 2014

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Tim Howard already has one eye on his life after football—with the television studio attracting his attention.

The Everton and United States goalkeeper has been working as an analyst with NBC Sports on Premier League coverage when his club commitments allow.

The 35-year-old intends to retire from the game after the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where he is hoping to represent the United States once more, and the television studio is a place which has piqued his interest for a career after football.

Howard told Bleacher Report, "As a goalkeeper, I have a very good vantage point. When you're up in the gantry, you have an aerial view at half-field. It allows you to put together what you're thinking. Being up in the booth helps me read the game in a different way.

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"The options are there. The media interests me a lot. You can keep your eye on the game and continue to learn. I like the accessibility of being able to travel and see games in different places, rather than just on television. ... Coaching is the obvious transition, but I'm not 100 percent that I want to do it. But if the right opportunity presents itself, I'd be open to it."

Howard has a wealth of experience to bring to match analysis, but even he came across one particularly unfamiliar sight 18 months ago—a change in manager at Goodison Park.

The USMNT star had been brought to the Merseyside club by David Moyes in an initial loan deal from Manchester United in the summer of 2006.

Seven years later, Moyes made the move in the opposite direction to replace Sir Alex Ferguson after 11 years with the Toffees.

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Roberto Martinez's arrival and the introduction of a new possession-based style of play was something Howard admits was refreshing.

"David Moyes was brilliant for me, and my hat goes off to him for what he did in his 11 years here. I have a lot of love and respect for David Moyes," Howard said.

"Roberto has come into the club with ideas and confidence, which is not something that is easy to do because he inherited a bunch of players without a mass exodus. There could have been a clash with strong-willed players, but there wasn't. There was an immediate fusion of ideas and respect, and you can see that in results on the pitch.

"I had to learn a few new nuances [under Martinez]. Physically, I was capable of doing it in term of keeping possession of the ball. On the training pitch, the manager has ideas he wants to put across to the team. In matches, I try to be that voice to help people along and keep moving the play along.

"You get to 34 and think you've seen it all, but along came Roberto with different ideas, and it was refreshing."

While the likes of Moyes and Martinez will always be judged against Everton's most successful manager, Howard Kendall, Howard admits he has also lived in the shadow of another Goodison great, Neville Southall.

27 Jul 1996:  Neville Southall of Everton in action during a pre-season friendly between Everton and Borussia Monchengladbach at Goodison Park in Liverpool. Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK
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The former Wales international won two league titles, two FA Cups and the European Cup Winners' Cup in a glittering career with the Toffees, which spanned 17 years between 1981 and 1998, creating a record of 750 appearances for the club in the process.

Howard admits there is unlikely to be a goalkeeper to surpass Southall's achievements, but pressure has never been a watchword for the USMNT star anyway.

"Every goalkeeper who comes to Everton will be haunted by that ghost," Howard said. "Neville was brilliant for Everton and Wales, and at that time, he was in the argument for the world's best goalkeepers. They are big shoes to fill. It's not something I lose sleep over, but it's nice to be chasing some of his awards and accolades.

"I feel pressure all the time. I've also done this for a long time, and I'm not a bad goalkeeper, but I've never felt pressure from another goalkeeper. I put pressure on myself. I know what it takes to play at the highest level and what it takes to do it consistently.

"I think it's weak-minded when people talk about being under pressure from another goalkeeper. That would mean the thought in your head is, 'Oh, there's another guy here who could take my place, I should start doing better.' Your standards should be so high that you want to come into work and make sure you're doing really well."

Such standards will ensure Howard does not give up on his desire to win a trophy for Everton, who have not lifted silverware since the 1995 FA Cup triumph over Manchester United at Wembley.

The Merseysiders came close to breaking that duck in the 2009 final when Louis Saha gave Moyes' team a 25-second lead over Chelsea.

But Everton could not hold on in the searing heat, and the Stamford Bridge club ran out 2-1 winners under interim boss Guus Hiddink.

The disappointment of that day lives with Howard, and he remains determined to end Everton's wait for a trophy, but he also recognises the importance of Champions League qualification for the club.

"The 2009 FA Cup final was my biggest disappointment with Everton," Howard said. "You get one hand on the trophy, and you want to win it, but unfortunately Louis Saha scored too early. Because we were so close we wanted to win it, but it was a special day.

"Of course as a player, you want nothing more than to raise a cup, but the Champions League is where the elite play and it's where big money comes in for the club, and that's important.

"But winning trumps everything. The Champions League is important, but I want to win a cup."

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