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Americans Abroad

Everton gains Howard, making loan deal with Manchester United.

Tim Howard
Tim Howard's move to Everton sould bring him increased playing time.
-- Manchester United web site photo --
By Gary Davidson (in Washington, D.C.)
SoccerTimes

(Tuesday, May 9, 2006) -- United States goalkeeper Tim Howard will get a chance to get his career back on track next season when he joins Everton on loan from Manchester United.

Both English Premier League clubs announced this morning a season-long deal that has Howard officially joining Everton on July 1.

This is a great move for Tim," United manager Alex Ferguson told the United web site. "He will get the experience of the Premier League and we've wanted to do this for a long time. He will come back a better goalkeeper. Everton is a good club and create new challenges for Tim."

Howard, 27, has started 77 games in his three years at Manchester United, but languished on the bench during the 2005-06 season behind Edwin van der Sar, a Netherlands international.

"I'm really looking forward to playing first-team football and the new challenges that will bring." Howard told the United web site.

Howard will serve as a backup to Kasey Keller for the U.S. men in the upcoming World Cup in Germany. His chief competition for the starting job at Everton will probably be 28-year-old Richard Wright, who started 14 of the 15 games he played this season, conceding 19 goals and posting three shutouts for the Toffees (14-16-8, 50 points), who finished 11th in the 20-team EPL.

Nigel Martyn, whose contract has expired, began the season in goal, but injured an ankle and was slow to get back iinto action. His return to Goodison Park is questionable.

United acquired Howard from Major League Soccer's MetroStars on July 15, 2003, for a transfer fee of about $4.3 million and signed him to a four-year contract. In April 2005, he signed a new pact which runs through the summer of 2009.

In his first season with Man. U., Howard was the starter in 44 matches in all competitions, including recording the clean sheet in United's 3-0 triumph over Millwall in the FA Cup final. He began 2004-05 as the starter, but was limited to 27 starts after losing his job to Roy Carroll.

With van der Saar in the fold, Howard was limited to six appearances in the season which concluded over the weekend.

Gary Davidson is SoccerTimes publisher and managing editor.

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