Howard ends long search for real No 1

Everton 0 Tottenham

Jon Culley
Monday 11 May 2009 00:00

Everton's quest for the new Neville Southall has lasted longer even than Manchester United's search for a worthy successor to Peter Schmeichel, but after Tim Howard surpassed Southall's record of clean sheets on Saturday, there is a feeling around the Merseyside club that their wait is over.

The American is quick to acknowledge the role of the defenders in front of him in Everton's 16 shut-outs this season but the view at Goodison is that if the record stems from a collective effort then Howard is the organiser.

"It is the team that wins clean sheets but there is no doubt it is Tim who marshals the back four," Everton's assistant manager, Steve Round, said. "Players will tell you that he is very demanding, even in training. Schmeichel used to be the same and Tim has got a bit of Schmeichel about him."

Howard is among 11 goalkeepers to have worn the Everton jersey since Southall left in 1998 and the sixth to make the place his own for a sustained period. Given that the Welshman made 578 league appearances, Howard's 108 so far since his move from Manchester United seem inconsequential. But he is not yet 30 while Southall kept the job for almost another 10 years, so time is on his side.

"Neville was fantastic, a world-class goalkeeper but Tim has to have it in his mind to strive to emulate him," Round said. Saturday's blank must have been one of Howard's easiest as Tottenham managed only four shots on goal, none on target. Everton, for whom the 18-year-old prospect, Jack Rodwell, showed evidence of his growing maturity in midfield, were not much more threatening but did do enough to give Heurelho Gomes, the gaffe-prone Brazilian goalkeeper, more than a few scary moments.

The result cost Everton the chance to go fifth in the table, Tottenham the opportunity to make themselves favourites to finish seventh, although manager Harry Redknapp, who made such a noise about the inconvenience of being in the Uefa Cup this season, denied that missing out on the new Europa League would be a blessing. "That game against Shakhtar [in the Uefa Cup third round] was impossible because it came three days before the Carling Cup final," he said. "But as a manager you want to get into Europe."

Everton (4-4-1-1): Howard; Neville, Yobo, Lescott, Baines; Gosling (Osman, 69), Rodwell, Cahill, Pienaar; Fellaini; Jo (Saha, 69). Substitutes not used: Nash (gk), Castillo, Vaughan, Jacobsen, Wallace.

Tottenham Hotspur (3-5-2): Gomes; Corluka, Woodgate, King; Hutton, Jenas, Huddlestone, Modric (Pavlyuchenko, 81), Bale; Keane, Defoe. Substitutes not used: Cudicini (gk), Bentley, Gunter, Campbell, Chimbonda, Rose.

Referee: L Mason (Lancashire).

Booked: Everton Lescott, Pienaar; Tottenham Hotspur Hutton, Jenas, Pavlyuchenko.

Man of the match: Rodwell.

Attendance: 36,646.

Spurs' King bailed over alleged assault

Tottenham captain Ledley King was yesterday bailed until mid-July after being arrested on suspicion of assault outside a nightclub, police said. The England international was questioned on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm in an alleged incident in Soho, central London, during the early hours of yesterday morning.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in