Everton goalkeeper opens up about having to wait for his chance

Everton Goodison 2

Joel Robles admits that he had to make sure he kept his passion for the game whilst playing second fiddle to Tim Howard.

Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles has told the Liverpool Echo that although he was happy to wait for his chance to become the club's number one, he had to work to ensure that he did not lose his passion for football.

The Spaniard has made just 10 Premier League starts for Roberto Martinez's side since joining from Atletico Madrid in July 2013 as he has been unable to dislodge first-choice stopper Tim Howard.

However, the 25-year-old, who played under Martinez during a loan spell at Wigan Athletic before following his boss to Goodison Park, has finally usurped the American and has played in goal in each of the Toffees' last six matches in all competitions.

After his impressive performance in the 2-0 win over Bournemouth in the FA Cup fifth round tie at the Vitality Stadium this weekend, the goalkeeper told the Liverpool Echo that he knew he needed to take any opportunities that he was given.

Joel said: "Of course, I am very happy to be playing because I waited for my moment but I am happy to be able to help the team.

"The goalkeeping position is very difficult in a team because there is only one so you need to keep working and keep your passion, and when you are given your opportunities you need to take them.

"It is important for me to have the supporters behind me and I thank them for that. To play in the Premier League now I need to work on all parts of my game. This league is difficult for a goalkeeper, I think it is harder now than ever before."

Martinez confirmed before the Bournemouth tie that Joel has earned himself the number one spot, and paid back his manager's trust on Saturday by saving a first-half penalty from Charlie Daniels.

With Howard rumoured to be set to move back to his native USA by joining an MLS club in the summer after losing his place, it appears that Joel could have a firm grip on the first-choice spot at Goodison Park for the foreseeable future.

The goalkeeper's fine display helped Everton secure an FA Cup quarter-final date against a much-improved Chelsea next month.

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