Why Roberto Martinez's goalkeeper comments will disappoint Everton fans

Tim Howard USA

Martinez has said that Tim Howard will return to the side despite a solid display from Joel Robles against Norwich City in the League Cup.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has said in the Liverpool Echo that Tim Howard will return for this weekend's Premier League clash with Sunderland at Goodison Park, despite his deputy Joel Robles putting in a solid performance for the side in their penalty shootout win over Norwich City in the League Cup.

The Spaniard pulled off a couple of fine saves as well, as saving a spot-kick from Wes Hoolahan which contributed to the Toffees' progression to the quarter-final stage of the competition. 

But Martinez threw his backing behind Howard as his number one goalkeeper, and is quoted in the Liverpool Echo as saying: “No, no. It's very clear (Tim will come back in).

“Joel has been playing in this competition and I trust him 100%.

“Tim Howard is a very very influential member of our squad. Nothing changes.

“Of course, we want to be better in terms of keeping clean sheets but it's very easy and soft to look at the last man standing in the goal."

In the Premier League defeat to Arsenal at the weekend, the spotlight was firmly on Howard's role in the two goals conceded at the Emirates Stadium, as he failed to deal with crosses that came into the penalty area.

These, of course, have not been the only errors from the American. There have been several times when he has been incredibly reluctant to command his penalty area - instead he has remained static, while at times he seems to have a habit of sitting down when in one-on-one situations and rarely gets his opponent to commit before he does. 

Robles may feel a little hard done by not to be included in the side when he sees a goalkeeper out of sorts ahead of him in the pecking order. For Howard, there must be a sense of relief that Martinez has come out and stated that he is his number one goalkeeper - some may argue that it's good man management on the part of the Spaniard. 

But surely Howard must be close to the last chance saloon in terms of his current spell, if not already in it. Last season Robles made way for the American when he returned from injury after keeping three consecutive clean sheets. Some thought that was harsh at the time, too. 

Everton fans would hope that Howard's form coming under the spotlight, like it has in the past few days, will give the manager plenty to think about, with it important that no place in the team can be taken for granted.

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