AMSTERDAM – Everton manager Roberto Martinez has come out in praise of netminder Tim Howard, who is tied atop the Premier League shutout chart for this season.
The coach, who moved from nearby Wigan this past summer to take over for the departed David Moyes, told the Liverpool Echo that the American has much more impact in their success than just plenty of fine goal work.
"When you are so dominant in possession as a team you need great concentration as a goalkeeper because you can go 40 minutes without having a save to make," explained Martinez. "It happened at the Emirates [against Arsenal]. You have two saves to make on the trot, and he was so fast and so quick and read the situation so well that they didn’t look like good chances.
"Tim is a special footballer and human being at Everton because he represents everything I want from a player. He has incredible professionalism, a great vision and he influences people around him. He is someone as good as you will see in this league," added the Spaniard. "[He] has been incredible in terms of understanding how we want to play and he has played an incredible role in how we want to start our play."
Even with such well-layered kudos, Howard has been busy grabbing attention for his more customary duties. He already has eight clean sheets in 16 starts this season – including shutouts against Chelsea, at Brad Guzan's Aston Villa and away to former employers Manchester United. The New Jersey native also stands second in the EPL in goals-against-average at 0.94.