The former USA number one insists his ex-international teammate is far from finished.
Former Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Kasey Keller has defended Everton’s Tim Howard from recent criticism, telling ESPN Soccer Today that he’s confident his fellow American will prove his class during the Premier League run in.
After a starring role at the World Cup, Howard’s form has come back down to earth at Everton this season, with the USA’s number one receiving considerable flak from both fans and the media for his performances - as covered by the Liverpool Echo.
The ex-Manchester United shot-stopper also missed six weeks of action with a calf strain during the winter and, with backup Joel Robles proving a more than capable fill-in, some had wondered whether he could face a battle to win back his spot.
Toffees boss Roberto Martinez has kept faith in him since his return, however, and Keller believes that his former US teammate will go on to prove his doubters wrong after a testing campaign so far at Goodison Park.
“It’s tough because you’re coming off a long summer, when there’ve been a lot of games and you haven’t really been able to have the break you wanted,” said Keller.
“It’s also not the same Everton team that he was in last year. Then he had the injury and he’s now trying to fight back from that.
“I think Tim will look back on this season with a feeling of frustration,” he continued. “But he’s still got 10 Premier League games to put things right and things now seem to be moving in the right direction.”
With Howard also taking a break from international football until September following the World Cup, long-time backup Brad Guzan has been given a valuable chance to prove his worth in between the US posts.
Given his form for Aston Villa over the past few seasons, there is a feeling that the Chicago-native should remain Jurgen Klinsmann’s first-choice even when Howard returns but Keller isn’t so sure that the head coach is prepared for a permanent change at this point.
“You are wondering what Jurgen’s going to do,” added Keller. “We don’t know whether it’s still Tim’s position to lose after his time away or if it’s now an open fight and he’s going to let Brad compete.
“I would still think that he’s going to give Tim the benefit of the doubt after the very good World Cup that he had, though. I could understand why he would want to take a little break, particularly at this time.”