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Martinez hails 'history maker' Howard, talks up scouting exercise

Roberto Martinez

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has praised his 'history making' goalkeeper Tim Howard.

The USA international won widespread plaudits for his performances during the World Cup which included a memorable display against Belgium in the last 16.

The USMNT stopper made the most saves from a single match in World Cup history, keeping out the Belgians on 16 occasions, and his form earned him recognition throughout his homeland which even included a phone call from President Barack Obama.

Ahead of the new season, Toffees boss Martinez says Howard's performance in Brazil should make everyone connected with Goodison Park side proud.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Martinez said: “He was magnificent. Once again he showed what an incredible ambassador he is, both for club and country.

“He had a fantastic tournament, and that performance in the last 16 will stay in the history books forever. I certainly can’t envisage a goalkeeper making that amount of saves in a World Cup game any time soon.

“He can be very proud of his performance, and I think everyone at Everton can take pride in the way one of our great ambassadors has performed too.He did the club proud as well as himself.”

Former Manchester United stopper Howard put pen to paper on a two-year contract extension back in March, and the veteran goalkeeper has been an integral part of the Blues' squad since his arrival was made permanent back in February 2007.

Howard missed just one game last season after he was forced to sit out the 2-1 win against Southampton on December 29 following his red card against Sunderland on Boxing Day, and the 35-year-old will once again be key to the Blues' hopes of Champions League football this coming term.

Meanwhile, Martinez was present at the World Cup, working as an analyst for ESPN, while also scouting new players, and the Blues boss explained how watching potential signings at the tournament gave him a better understanding of their suitability.

“As a scouting exercise, the big advantage you have when you are watching a player at a tournament is that you can see how he copes with the weight of expectations," he added. "When the whole nation is behind him.

“You see at international level that there are players who maybe don’t feature so much for their club side, but when they are with their country they are a key player, and so you can see how they handle that kind of role.

“Psychologically, the demands on players at a World Cup is huge, and that can be very instructive when you are looking at a player as a possible transfer target. Even Germany, the eventual winners, faced criticism throughout the tournament."

The Toffees kick off the new season with a trip to newly-promoted Leicester City.

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