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Premier League

Manchester United trying to sign 'disabled' goalkeeper

Manchester United are trying to sign an American international goalkeeper voted Humanitarian of the Year after coping with the effects of Tourette's syndrome.

Tim Howard, 23, has risen to prominence in the United States despite suffering from an illness that will make him an extraordinary character if he arrives at Old Trafford in August for the start of next season.

People with Tourette's syndrome suffer from nervous tics and at times cannot control what they are saying. Howard, who plays for New York/New Jersey MetroStars in the Major Soccer League, says he has learnt to cope with the illness. The effects of Tourette's can be harrowing, with spasms and uncontrollable outbursts two of the most common signs.

Howard's teammates say they have not found his disability to be a problem. However, he is bound to be at the centre of much interest if United complete the deal for the £1.2m-rated player.

The New Jersey-born goalkeeper is regarded so highly for handling his "handicap" that he was voted Humanitarian of the Year by the charity New York Life. He rose through the college ranks to play for MetroStars, all the while dealing with his illness. Howard has yet to play for the US in a competitive international because of the form of Blackburn's Brad Friedel and Tottenham's Kasey Keller, but has played for the national side in friendly games. He could be one of two new keepers at Old Trafford, with Fabien Barthez out of favour and Roy Carroll wanted by Birmingham City.