After an amazing performance in the USA’s 2-1 extra-time defeat to Belgium in the last 16, goalkeeper Tim Howard will take his time to make a decision on his international future.
Howard set a new World Cup record by making 15 saves in Tuesday’s match, keeping his side in contention through the 120 minutes, while spawning a plethora of internet memes concerning his shot-stopping prowess.
The Everton veteran will be 39 years old by the time Russia 2018 rolls around however and, with understudy Brad Guzan waiting in the wings, many have been speculating when the time will come for him to pass the baton.
"Those decisions will be made when I’m less emotional, things settle down and I have a few important conversations with a few important people," Howard said after the game. "It has to end sometime and it ended a little bit early for us," he added. "It was a good Belgium team. Sometimes you give everything you have and do your absolute best and it just doesn’t stack up. That was tonight."
One of the team’s most respected players and undisputed leaders, Howard has earned 105 caps since his international debut in 2002, having previously been the backup to Kasey Keller at the 2006 World Cup and first-choice in South Africa 2010.
With over a decade of Premier League experience, the 35-year-old first arrived in England in 2003, signing for Manchester United from the Metrostars of MLS for £2.2 million, before being pushed out of the club by the arrival of Edwin van der Saar in 2005.
Joining Everton in 2006, the American has gone on to become a club legend on Merseyside as one of the league’s most reliable and consistently excellent keepers, signing a contract extension in April until 2018.
Having now well and truly established himself as a USA legend with his latest World Cup heroics, if Tuesday was indeed Howard’s final bow on the international stage then it was a fitting performance to go out on, even if the result was not in his side’s favour.