The veteran keeper has reiterated his intentions to reclaim the USA's number one spot when he ends his international hiatus in September.
Howard, 36, opted to take a year-long break from the US national team following the 2014 World Cup, where he recorded a record-breaking 15 saves in the 2-1 round of 16 defeat to Belgium, but an indifferent season with Everton has led to questions about his future role with Jurgen Klinsmann’s side.
Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan has since established himself as the team’s new first-choice and will start at the upcoming Gold Cup tournament, where an impressive run of form could make his Everton counterpart surplus to requirements with the likes of Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando, Club Leon’s William Yarbrough and D.C. United’s Bill Hamid also waiting in the wings.
However, Howard, who has earned 104 caps for the US between 2002 and 2014, has reiterated his plan to return to the setup and fight for his place, declaring: “After I spoke with Jurgen, I just decided to take this year off and then come back into the fold if I was fit, healthy and playing next September.
“I’ll integrate myself back into the team if they will still have me and go from there and see what happens.
“I wanted more time with my family as I wanted more time out with my children and, to be honest, it’s been a great decision.”
|2014-15 Premier League||Position||Team||Goals Conceded||Errors Lead To Goal||Errors Lead To Shot||Clean Sheets||Saves||Total Crosses Claimed||Cross Claim Success||Goal Kick Accuracy||Appearances||Mins Played|
|Brad Guzan||GK||Aston Villa||48||4||1||9||101||72||96%||52%||34||3,060|
While Guzan has impressed for the States whenever handed the chance to start, as well as for Villa in recent seasons, his recent benching for the Premier League run-in has thrown his claret and blue future into some doubt.
If not resolved before next term, that could be the chance for Howard to reclaim his place between the US posts but, even then, the veteran stopper knows that there will still be fierce competition for places.
“We’re a bunch of guys who graft, work hard and don’t understand the meaning of the word ‘no’,” he added. “One of the things Jurgen Klinsmann is not afraid to do is try young talent and throw them in at the deep end to see if they swim and can handle the pressure of playing in the international team.
“Jurgen really believes in building US soccer – not just the men’s team but producing crops of players who can contribute and I think he’s been brilliant so far.”