Thursday 27 October 2016

Martinez to rest Howard as focus turns to Cup

Tim Howard
Tim Howard

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has given his backing to goalkeeper Tim Howard after more questions were asked about his consistency.

The United States international's positioning was criticised for Bournemouth's last-gasp equaliser in Saturday's 3-3 draw.

It is not the first time the 36-year-old has come under scrutiny this season but Martinez has defended the American - although he will not play in tonight's League Cup quarter-final at Middlesbrough as Spaniard Joel Robles will start, as he has done in previous rounds. "Joel was man of the match in the previous round and he will start - that is something which has been planned," said the Everton manager.

"Since Tim came back into the side after the previous round he has been very consistent, performing with a real influence over the back four.

"The third goal was a real disappointment because it was the last kick of the game but as a team we should have done a lot better, not relying on the goalkeeper. When someone has a free header in the six-yard box there has to be questions over the marking."

Joel has made just three appearances - all in this season's League Cup - since February but Martinez maintains the 25-year-old is Howard's equal.


"Gone are the days when you have only one goalkeeper and then you are waiting for him to get injured or suspended," he added.

"You have to have two very good number ones who both can play different roles: Tim Howard is an incredible source of experience and someone who can give direction to young players. Joel has the potential to be a very special goalkeeper and that is why we brought him to the club.

"It has been important for him to be playing in the League Cup. He has shown a good level, especially against Norwich where his mentality more than anything else was tested in a penalty shoot-out.

"We need a squad which has two very strong goalkeepers and that is the case." Defender Leighton Baines is set to make his first appearance of the season in the matchday squad having been sidelined since May 9 after ankle surgery. However, midfielders James McCarthy and Gareth Barry look set to be rested after sustaining injuries at the weekend.

On McCarthy Martinez said: "He had to come off in the game after he over-extended his upper hip muscle and yesterday he was quite sore. Gareth Barry had a really nasty knock in the shin - there are stud marks - and he was finding it difficult to walk yesterday."

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