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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Martinez stands up for sub-par Tim Howard

Everton 2 Leicester 2

Tim Howard
Tim Howard

Roberto Martinez leapt to the defence of Tim Howard after the Everton goalkeeper put in another sub-par performance in the 2-2 draw against Leicester.

Howard was one of the stars of the World Cup last year, but his form has dipped considerably since he returned to England.

The American was dropped for Joel Robles at the turn of the year after making a number of mistakes and he was at fault again at Goodison Park yesterday as Everton grabbed a lucky point thanks to an 88th-minute equaliser.

Just after Steven Naismith had put Everton ahead, Howard pushed Jamie Vardy's shot into the path of David Nugent to allow the Foxes to equalise and soon after the goalkeeper flapped at a cross, and Esteban Cambiasso drove a low shot into the home goal.

Luckily for Howard and Everton, Romelu Lukaku's late diving header flew in after a huge deflection off Matthew Upson to snatch a point for the hosts.

"I don't see Tim as directly responsible of the draw," Everton boss Martinez said.

"The first one is quite an unlucky action. He gets in some sort of a block, it hits John Stones' legs and it ends up in the Leicester striker's footpath.

"We have three players around him and it ends up with him.

"I don't think it was such a major error. I don't think it would solve anything if we just single out the player who made that mistake. As a team we need to defend much better in those situations."

Everton won only once during the eight-game stretch Robles had in goal, and it appears the Spaniard will not replace Howard in goal for Thursday's Europa League game against Young Boys.

"His performance against Chelsea was outstanding and his performance against Young Boys, after the first goal when he doesn't see the ball, was terrific," he added.

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