World Cup 2014

World Cup: USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann sees goalkeeper Tim Howard "top five in the world"

STANFORD, Calif. – Positional battles may be the name of the game in the US national team's World Cup camp, but amidst the roster chaos, one thing is all but certain: Tim Howard will be starting in goal in Brazil this June.

Easily the most experienced of the three goalkeepers on the US roster (Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando are the others), Howard is coming off one of his best seasons of his 10 campaigns in the English Premier League, and US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann heaped the praise on his starting goalkeeper on Wednesday morning at USMNT camp.

“Tim is important for us, because we have to figure out a couple of pieces still in the backline,” Klinsmann told reporters of the Everton goalkeeper. “I think there is something special waiting for Tim [at the World Cup], that he hopefully makes that his special moment.”

“I think he is consistent over years, years, years now in the Premier League,” the German coach continued. "He I think was in the top three of the Premier League this year, and I look at him as the top five in the world, and that is kind of a moment to catch, so make that World Cup your World Cup.”

Even Guzan, Howard's heir apparent to the US No. 1 shirt, sung his competition's praises and sticking power, and he should know – Guzan just finished his own sixth season backstopping in the EPL, for Aston Villa.

“He’s been fantastic. It speaks volumes about someone to spend most of their career in England, especially in the Premier League, because it’s such a tough league,” he told reporters at camp on Monday.

“Consistency is such a big factor there. My hat’s off to him, because it’s not easy …Tim is obviously one of those guys who made it work and persevered through times. He’s beloved by everyone [at Everton]."