Highs and Lows of Tim Howard's Everton Career

Michael Cummings@MikeCummings37World Football Lead WriterJanuary 13, 2016

Highs and Lows of Tim Howard's Everton Career

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    Tim Howard's time at Everton might be running out.

    The United States international goalkeeper, who's been with the club since 2006, has come under fire in recent times for a series of error-ridden performances. Backup Joel Robles, meanwhile, is playing well in cup ties, prompting some segments of fans to call for a change.

    After being spotted reacting to fans' jeers, Howard's place in the team appears less secure than ever. When asked this week whether the American would play with Everton again next season, manager Roberto Martinez told reporters,“It is impossible to say that. We need to take it game by game and week by week."

    With that noncommittal answer in mind, we decided to compile a list of Howard's highs and lows during his time with the Toffees. Browse through our slides, then be sure to add your thoughts to the comments.

High: Everton Debut

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    Howard joined Everton ahead of the 2006-07 season, initially on loan from Manchester United. He made his debut in the Premier League season opener, a home game against Watford.

    The Toffees won the game, 2-1, with Mikel Arteta (penalty) and Andy Johnson scoring the goals. Howard, sans beard, made saves against Damien Francis, Gavin Mahon and Ashley Young but conceded a late consolation goal to Francis.

High: Permanent Deal with Everton

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    Howard impressed Everton sufficiently to convince his new employers to sign him permanently from Manchester United in February 2007.

    At the time he put ink to paper, Howard had kept 11 clean sheets in 27 appearances, according to BBC Sport

    "The club shares my ambition—that is for sure. So does the manager, and so do fans," Howard told reporters, adding, "I was drawn to the club for a number of reasons, and the players in the dressing room are one of them."

High: FA Cup Semi-Final vs. Manchester United

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    Howard's Everton came up against Manchester United, his former side, in the 2008-09 FA Cup semi-final. Following a scoreless draw over 120 minutes, Howard starred in the penalty shootout.

    The American stopped United's first two kicks, from Dimitar Berbatov and Rio Ferdinand, helping the Toffees win the shootout, 4-2.

    Everton lost the final to Chelsea, 2-1, despite Louis Saha scoring in the first minute.

Low: Costly Fumble at Blackburn

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    The opening day of the 2010-11 season saw Howard make a costly error at Blackburn Rovers.

    In the 14th minute, Howard came off his line to scoop up an El Hadji Diouf header but dropped the ball into the path of Nikola Kalinic. The Blackburn man took advantage, firing in the game's only goal.

    Everton—tipped as "dark horses" for the title, according to Rory Smith at the Daily Telegraph—lost 1-0 and eventually finished seventh.

    By that time, Howard had established himself as Everton's top goalkeeper. In 2008-09, he had set a Premier League club record with 16 clean sheets, according to BBC Sport, but on this day he cost his side at least two points.

    “It was the deciding moment in the game,” manager David Moyes said. “Tim has been brilliant for us, but things like that happen, and it was costly. But it is just one game, and it came down to one small thing, so we will just move on.”

High (or Low?): Goal Against Bolton

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    In January 2012, Everton lost at home to Bolton Wanders in the Premier League, 2-1. So how is this a high in Howard's Everton career?

    Because he managed to score a goal from his own box.

    Howard declined to celebrate and expressed sympathy for opposition goalkeeper Adam Bogdan afterwards.

    "You never want to see that happen," he said, via the Guardian's Andy Hunter. "It's not nice, it's embarrassing, so I felt for Adam, but you have to move on from it."

Lows: Premier League Errors and Calls for Joel Robles

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    In October 2015, Howard made a pair of mistakes that led to both of Arsenal's goals in a 2-1 Everton defeat.

    First, he was caught in no man's land as Olivier Giroud opened the scoring with a header in the 36th minute. Moments later, he did not take charge of his box on a Santi Cazorla free-kick, allowing Laurent Koscielny to double the lead.

    That failure to command his box has been a recurring theme in recent times, though ESPN FC's Luke O'Farrell noted that it has not been his only foible:

    In the one position in which a consistent, reliable presence is required, the American is a nervy figure appearing only a moment away from a costly error. Teammates look to their goalkeeper to inspire confidence as the last line of defence, but the only thing Howard inspires is nerves.

    As Arsenal scored twice in two minutes, while not solely the fault of the man between the sticks, those nagging doubts returned, particularly on the back of a number of questionable recent concessions. Constant set piece problems merely highlight the Howard issue; the toxic combination of slack marking, failure to clear lines, and a goalkeeper withering in plain sight is proving fatal (to Everton's back line).

    This wasn't the only recent evidence that suggests Howard has entered a decline. The American had bad days in the Premier League against Crystal Palace in September 2014 and Leicester City the following February. More often than not, Howard's problems are with crosses and other passes played into his box, which he regularly struggles to command.

    Such issues are only leading to increased calls from fans to see Joel Robles in goal.

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