Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard has revealed that captain Phil Jagielka, star man Leighton Baines and club-record signing Romelu Lukaku are the three main teammates who help bring the club’s dressing room together.
After last season’s outstanding fifth-place Premier League finish, Everton have got off to a somewhat slower start to this term, taking 14 points from their first 11 games to sit 10th in the table.
Nevertheless, Howard insists that the Toffees are capable of competing with the top-flight’s elite, and believes it’s their team chemistry, with so many high-character figures at Goodison Park, which sets them apart from their rivals.
“Our senior players have been around so long, they’ve got the respect of the group,” he told USA Today. “Our captain, Phil Jagielka, is a brilliant captain.
“Leighton Baines kind of keeps people light, on their toes. It’s been good. It’s been good to bring back Romelu Lukaku who’s young and exciting, he’s a kid at heart. It’s just a good positive vibe.
“We’re a good team and we always knew we were a good team,” he continued. “We just had to find our rhythm. And I think we have.
“I always knew we’d come good. I’ve been part of quite a lot of Premier League seasons and they’re very long, you can’t read into just the beginning, just the middle or just the end. It’s a culmination of everything, but we’re on the right track.”
With Roberto Martinez's side also competing in the Europa League this season, arguments that their Thursday night adventures are hampering their league campaign are inevitable, but Howard contends the impact has in fact been a positive one on the squad.
“We travel well. We’ve got a bunch of good guys who enjoy being together on the road, so it hasn’t been too bad,” he said. “The manager seems to have found a good rotation, and we’re first in our group, so it’s not really taken its toll. We’ve enjoyed it.
“For a player, the more games mean the less you train, so the whistle blows and you go play, and then you recover and get ready for the next one.”