Howard has been strongly linked with a move to the Colorado Rapids since January, when the MLS club acquired the top spot in the league’s allocation order – giving them first crack at signing the Everton goalkeeper – and then traded first-choice stopper Clint Irwin to Toronto FC.
ESPN FC reported last Saturday that Rapids president Tim Hinchey had recently flown to England to finalise a deal for the former MetroStars favourite, which would see him complete the Premier League season with the Toffees before heading back to the States.
Set to turn 37 this weekend, the rumours have prompted suggestions that the 106-times capped veteran’s international career could be affected given Klinsmann’s somewhat unfair reputation for giving short shrift to MLS players, but the German insists he would fully support the heavily mooted switch.
Asked during a Facebook Q&A whether Howard would still be in the national team picture should the move to Colorado go through, Klinsmann said: “This is the rumour right now. I’m reading the websites the way you guys are as well.
“If Tim decides to go back to MLS, it’s no problem at all with me. He’s so far had a fantastic career and has been a hero at Everton for a long time there.
“But if he decides to come back to the United States, it’s absolutely no issue at all.”
Howard has made over 400 total appearances for Everton since joining the club from Manchester United in 2006 on an initial loan deal which later became permanent, but he has been confined to the bench over the past few weeks after losing his place to Joel Robles following a poor run of form.
USA teammate Brad Guzan has been in a similar situation at Aston Villa for the last two months, although the 31-year-old did make his first Premier League start since early January in Tuesday night’s 3-1 home defeat to Everton.
The pair’s recent lack of first-team action has been of obvious concern to Klinsmann, but at the same time he remains confident that either will be a good option to start the team’s back-to-back World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala later this month.
“It’s not nice to see both of them being on the bench over the last couple of weeks,” he added. “Brad Guzan played the last game, which gives us hope he’ll play the next as well, but it’s not ideal.
“On the other hand, they’re both experienced and capable of managing those kinds of situations, so we’re not too worried about them coming into the national team environment and not being in the flow as they normally would be.
“But in an ideal world, we’d want both of them starting with their club teams.”
Of course, Howard will certainly be guaranteed playing time if he does ultimately join the Rapids in a few months’ time, giving Klinsmann one obvious reason to back the move.