Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard renews his vows with the club
Everton attempted to put behind them the bitter disappointment of a defeat which has handed Arsenal an advantage in the chase for the fourth Champions League position, by announcing a two-year contract extension for goalkeeper Tim Howard.
The 35-year-old's performances in a campaign which has seen Everton register a record Premier League points haul have erased the impression he might be quickly eclipsed by Joel Robles, who manager Roberto Martinez brought across from Wigan Athletic, where the Spaniard was on loan last summer.
The American's new deal extends his Everton career by up to four years and means he could become only the fourth player in the club's history to make 500 first team outings. His appearance in the 3-2 defeat by Crystal Palace – which left Everton a point behind Arsenal – was his 343rd.
Martinez said Howard had been the best goalkeeper in the Premier League this season. "It is fantastic news," the Spaniard said. "To have Tim performing as he has been this season, I cannot see past him to choose the best keeper in the league.
"I am extremely proud of Tim's achievements for the club. On top of his goalkeeping, it's his personality in the dressing room. He is a strong leader."
Martinez said he expected Howard to play beyond the age of 40. "Being a goalkeeper is not like being an outfield player," he said. "Tim is very fit. I know he will play on beyond 40. He is at the peak of his powers."
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Latest in Sport
Luis Suarez: Lionel Messi is better than Cristiano Ronaldo
Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies from spine injury after doing somersault celebration
Arsenal vs Hull: Gary Lineker and Piers Morgan lead criticism of Arsene Wenger after 'uncomfortable' interview with Jacqui Oatley
Angel Di Maria injury: Manchester United sweat over fitness of record signing as he is in danger of missing Chelsea clash
West Brom vs Manchester United player ratings: Saido Berahino scores highest, whilst Marcos Rojo scores lowest
- 5 Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after treatment by British doctors on brink of 'cure'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
Worst Airports of 2014: Poll names Islamabad airport in Pakistan worst in the world