Roberto Martinez addresses Tim Howard's Everton future

Tim Howard USA

Amid rumours of an MLS return, Everton boss Roberto Martinez has labelled Tim Howard "the perfect number one".

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has told ESPN FC that goalkeeper Tim Howard will not be making a move back to MLS in the near future.

The Daily Mail had claimed last month that the former Metrostars shot-stopper would be open to a return to the US, with the LA Galaxy, New York City FC and Toronto FC all reported to be interested in his signature.

However, having penned a new long-term deal until 2018 last April, Martinez expects his number one to be around for some time.

"That's the first I've heard of it,” he said. “Obviously, Tim has got a long-term contract here, which he signed in the summer.

"He's in the best moment of his career. When you're a goalkeeper of that age, you're starting to use your experience to influence the people around you.

"I think his level of goalkeeping has been terrific. His contract finishes after the next World Cup, and I don't think anything before that is going to tempt him to leave Everton. I don't think that's the case at all."

Recovering from a calf strain at present, Howard’s performances have come under some criticism this season and, with the US international set to turn 36 in March, Martinez made it known last month that is looking to bring in some long-term competition.

The club made an attempt to land Molde keeper Orjan Nyland during the closing stages of the transfer window, according to Aftenposten, but the Norwegian outfit balked at their offer of around £3 million in instalments.

Nevertheless, while Martinez will again look to bring in cover at the end of the season, he intends to keep Howard as his first choice, labelling him “the perfect number one”.

"You're not going to get better goalkeepers than Tim Howard in the market, first and foremost because of what he represents at the club and what he brings to the dressing room,” he said.

"After that, you look at the amount of experience he's accumulated in the Premier League over more than 10 years.

"You look at the level he's shown over the last few seasons. He wants to reach bigger goals with the team. He's the perfect, perfect number one for us."

Martinez also revealed that Howard is on the cusp of a return after re-joining training, although the weekend’s Liverpool clash might have come too soon.

“Tim is training now and it will be important to make the right decision,” he added. “He feels strong and he feels ready. The medical advice is to give him another week just to make sure he is fully healed and we don’t take any risks.”

Howard has made 370 total appearances for the Toffees since arriving from Manchester United in 2006, and has made it known that he plans to retire after the 2018 World Cup.

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch