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Howard remains '№ 1' despite Robles's recent form

by | 09/02/2015  Comments (110)  jump
Roberto Martinez has reiterated that Tim Howard is Everton's number one, suggesting that he will reclaim his starting berth from Joel Robles once he returns to full fitness.

The American has been sidelined since Boxing Day with a calf injury and has been deputised with increasing effectiveness by Joel Robles, leading many to feel that the onus was now on Howard to win back his place rather than walk back into the side.

Robles has overcome some early jitters in the home match against FK Krasnodar and has kept three successive clean sheets, equalling Howard's Premier League total for the season, but it may not be enough for him to retain the first-choice goalkeeper's slot.

I thought Joel did very well the last three games, Martinez said. Crystal Palace was probably the most challenging game because there were a lot of balls in the box.

Against Liverpool he was composed, he was calm. It's important that we have players performing well.

Tim at the moment is the number one and whenever he is fit he needs to lose that position."

Howard has resumed full training but Martinez does not expect him to be fully ready for another week, meaning Robles will be between the posts when the Blues visit Chelsea in midweek.

Medically [Tim] probably needs another week but he has been training the last two days and feels that he is ready," Martinez continued.

I wouldn't say one way or the other but he is very very close and Tim is the number one and then it's just down to the competition from Joel and it's great to see Joel performing the way he has done.  

Reader Comments (110)

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Mark Tanton
1 Posted 09/02/2015 at 17:34:03
It would be absolute idiocy to make way for Howard to walk back in. Does Martinez want his team to be meritocracy or a home for the elderly and decrepit?
Paul Kennedy
2 Posted 09/02/2015 at 17:38:26
I agree; it should be on form – not seniority.

Brian Hill
3 Posted 09/02/2015 at 17:40:29
In other words, however well Robles plays is irrelevant, when Starman is fit, Robles is out.

Rather Martinez out. Performance counts for nothing.

Minik Hansen
4 Posted 09/02/2015 at 17:41:05
Let's hope Robles performs and keeps a clean sheet in the Chelsea-game, and that makes Martinez reconsider his thoughts.
Rob Halligan
5 Posted 09/02/2015 at 17:38:16
I wasn't Robles's greatest fan in the few games he played prior to this run he's on, but I think it would be an absolute disgrace if Howard just comes straight back in. Robles seems to have got rid of his "Teflon" label, is more commanding of his penalty area, and more importantly has kept three consecutive sheets. His kicking seems to have improved as well.

He's going up in everybody's estimation except, it seems, Martinez, judging by what he's saying about Howard being number one? Competition for places should count for goalkeepers, as well as outfield players, and if Robles is playing well, then he keeps his place.

Steavey Buckley
6 Posted 09/02/2015 at 17:47:17
Robles offers what Tim Howard does not in goal, able to come out and deal with crosses. Tim Howard not dealing with crosses, as good as Robles is doing, was one of the main reasons Everton were leaking goals from set pieces and corners. So, it would be a backward step replacing Robles with Howard.
Clive Mitchell
7 Posted 09/02/2015 at 17:49:24
Hope this is just talk (what RM has to say). It would be a very bad decision to put the hapless Howard back in. He should only get back in if and when Robles has deserved to be dropped. It's time for the MLS next year.
Vince Furnier
8 Posted 09/02/2015 at 17:52:46
Bobby Mimms anyone?
Wayne Smyth
9 Posted 09/02/2015 at 17:59:05
Clive (#7) I think you're spot on.

I really hope this is mind-games to keep Robles on his toes. He doesn't deserve to be dropped and Howards pre-injury form certainly doesn't merit inclusion. I think Robles surprised all of us with his performances which have largely been responsible for 3 straight clean sheets.

Howard has never filled me with confidence and has been directly responsible for a few goals conceded this season. I'd like to see an experienced keeper brought in and Howard sacked off to the MLS which is probably more his level now.

Darren Hind
10 Posted 09/02/2015 at 18:02:52
Talk about setting yourself up for criticism. If Howard comes back in and makes a mistake, Martinez will be battered on every forum and radio phone-in.

Why the fuck does he try to cross bridges before he comes to them? Why not save face for himself and both keepers by simply saying they have presented him with a nice problem.

Ray Roche
11 Posted 09/02/2015 at 18:04:07
There seems to be a bit of a sea change in feelings towards Robles. A few weeks ago most posts on here were for him to be sold or loaned and another keeper brought in.To be fair to the lad, he’s been pretty sound since he’s had a run in the side with clean sheets in a team that wouldn’t convince me that they had clean sheets on their bed!

The shirt should be his until his form etc deserts him.

What is it about Martinez? He brought Robles in, telling us he was a good keeper, when he finally gets to prove Martinez right, Martinez talks about dropping him.

Same with Kone, Lukaku stinks the gaff out, or is off form or, like Saturday, crap AND knackered, yet a fully fit Kone is left on the bench despite there being ample opportunity to sub Lukaku in Kone’s favour. And the style we were playing would favour Kone more than Lukaku. This guy is worse than Moyes for having favourites. Er... Barry, for instance? I was hoping he’d get booked on Saturday so he’d be unavailable for two games...

Sam Hoare
12 Posted 09/02/2015 at 18:17:25
As I said on another thread this beggars belief. Disrupting a defense that is, for the first time this season, looking solid whilst simultaneously removing motivation and confidence from a young keeper who needs it just before the toughest game of the season. Bizarre.
Frank Crewe
13 Posted 09/02/2015 at 18:26:05
Never seen a manager who just asks for trouble like this guy. He just can't resist playing the big I am.

What makes it worse is there's Mirallas undermining him at every opportunity yet he gets praise heaped on him. While Robles who hasn't griped at all get told as some as clapped out Howard is fit he's back on the bench. Makes no sense at all.

Darryl Ritchie
14 Posted 09/02/2015 at 18:23:11
Howard returning as first choice keeper? Some say that a player shouldn't lose a starting position through injury. There were many reasons for our poor start, and his form was a large part of it. As far as as I'm concerned Tim has lost his spot, and, if possible, has to earn it back.

Robles is our keeper.

Phil Walling
15 Posted 09/02/2015 at 18:29:44
I wonder how many veterans beside Howard and Barry have guaranteed places come what may?

Ossie, Baines and Jags, maybe?

Colin Williams
16 Posted 09/02/2015 at 18:34:34
This guy should be put on gardening leave... until the people in white coats perform a "CAT scan " on his unstable brain!!!! The guy needs HELP!!!
Tony Hill
17 Posted 09/02/2015 at 18:36:26
He always seems terrified of upsetting the senior players. That is in the end a recipe for discontent and loss of respect because it demonstrates weakness.
Kevin Rowlands
18 Posted 09/02/2015 at 18:46:30
I'm gonna go fucking apeshit if he replaces Robles with that liability, the lad deserves to keep his place. Howard needs to be pensioned off to the MLS or the broadcast booth — he's been a big part of the problem this season.
Bill Gall
19 Posted 09/02/2015 at 18:43:01
Well I guess we will be goingback to the tippy tappy amongst the back four and the keeper as Howard will say he got his injury kicking the ball down field.

If this do'es happen it just means that RM has not been watching the games. I was always of the opinion that you play your in form players, and we all are aware of the form that Howard was not in.

Denis Richardson
20 Posted 09/02/2015 at 18:38:10
I truly hope this is mind games from the manager, although I cannot figure out how.

Utterly bizaare statement to make and as mentioned above, what is Robles supposed to think? He comes in, is a bit nervous at first but has gotten better every game since. Now he can say he's kept 3 clean sheets on the trott and has to hear his manager saying Howard will basically walk straight back into the team in a weeks time?

Madness if true.

We have enough senior players who walk into the side regardless of their form or the form of others. Barry, Baines, Jags have all been/are off form but if fit always start. Must be so demotivating being a young hungry player in the wings knowing you're just not going to get in the team unless there's an injury.

I wonder if some of the players have it in their contracts that the club has to play them a certain number of games if fit or they get paid extra. Howards new 4 year contract last year still leaves me scratching my head and Barry must surely have some sort of 'play me' clause in his.

Kevin Tully
23 Posted 09/02/2015 at 18:59:35
Would like place this thread underneath last one Robles was the main discussion point. Footy fans fickle?....never!
Denis Richardson
24 Posted 09/02/2015 at 19:05:45
Kevin - most people here will admit to thinking Robles was crap because.......he was crap when he first played. I doubt there is a single reader on TW who'd have said he was decent based on his one off performances before.

However, I'm happy to eat humble pie and see him grow in confidence game by game into what looks like a decent keeper. Amazing what a run of games can do to a player (see Besic as another example)....

Shame more of the younger/fringe players don't get a look in when the likes of Barry and Howard seem to keep their places no matter what.

Christine Foster
25 Posted 09/02/2015 at 19:03:43
Kevin, so true! A few weeks ago he was a liability and not fit to be in goal for the blues and the clamor was for a new keeper to be the priority in the January window... Now it's a disgrace to see him dropped a week later? Fickle? Just funny...
Andrew Laird
26 Posted 09/02/2015 at 18:54:03
What a moronic comment from Roberto, I really hope this is mind games but even so the timing is crazy. Our recent upturn in results and clean sheets have coincided with Howard's injury, Stones return and Robles inclusion of dispelling the myth of so many that he was absolute bobbins (Krasnodar goal aside).

Robles has been everything that Howard has never been nor is he likely to at his age. He can catch and hold on to the ball, he commands his area, he does not come too far out of goal to make it easier for a striker bearing down on goal, his feet are coordinated and he has not looked like a "help-yourself buffet" Tim.

If true, then it seems that Roberto is never going to concede that long contracts for the elderly were a mistake and we will have to suffer the same inept performances from the winter fuel payment XI ad nauseum.

Kevin Elliott
28 Posted 09/02/2015 at 18:55:43
Frankie Howerd would be more effective than Timmy two-taps... Titter ye not.

Seriously though Joel must be well pissed off on hearing this.

My dislike for the Spanish clown grows by the day.

Fuck off, Martinez, you haven't got a clue.

Colin Glassar
29 Posted 09/02/2015 at 19:18:13
I've had to read this several times as I can't believe my eyes. This is an incredibly stupid thing to say about a young goalie who is just starting to find his feet.

For god's sake, Roberto, just keep yer trap shut for 48 hours for once in your life.

Gavin Johnson
30 Posted 09/02/2015 at 19:21:06
A stupid statement that sends out the wrong message to Robles – Form obviously counts for nothing, and while Robles hasn't been spectacular having a couple of ropey moments (like going walkabout in front of Sterling on Saturday) he has shown enough for me to continue ahead of Howard.

I was a fan of Howard up until this season but he's been atrocious since the World Cup. So, why the hell should he walk back into the side?!? It beggars belief...

Pete Edwards
31 Posted 09/02/2015 at 19:20:08
Hold on, nowhere in this is Martinez saying Howard walks straight back in to the starting 11. He actually says:

“I wouldn’t say one way or the other but he is very very close and Tim is the number one and then it’s just down to the competition from Joel and it’s great to see Joel performing the way he has done.”

Now to me I hear a manager keeping his keepers on their toes, Joel has played very well and grown in confidence to between the lines this is saying he has done well but isn’t giving away who will play when both fit. This has been a big problem with Howard having no competition now he has it, Martinez needs to make sure Joel knows he has to keep performing. Howard wont be the first or last so-called № 1 who isn’t automatically first choice.

Ian Jones
32 Posted 09/02/2015 at 19:15:13
I was one that was worried about Robles but he has done well so far. Pleasantly surprised. As people say a good run of games will have instilled confidence in both his ability to perform and also in the defenders who perhaps realise he's not too bad.

One thing that has no doubt helped Robles is that he hasn't had to do too much recently as our defence has 'tightened' but when called for has acquitted himself very well whereas Howard was getting a great deal of practice. Joel also has a huge kick on him so gets the ball downfield when needed etc, not pretty but effective in relieving pressure at times.

Mike Gaynes
33 Posted 09/02/2015 at 19:14:54
Darryl #14, it's more than just a thought... many managers have a stated policy that a player will never lose his place through injury unless he is unable to recover. If Roberto has this policy (and it seems likely), then he'd lose respect in his team for NOT sticking to it. And clearly he doesn't believe Howard lost his spot on form.

I've always been a huge Howard booster, but Robles's athleticism is off the charts, and he appears to have resolved his biggest weakness, which was dropping the ball under pressure. If he does well against Chelsea, I'd rather see him keep his place.

Those wishing Howard off to MLS can stop wishing. I'm told it's a done deal at the end of this season.

Ian Burns
34 Posted 09/02/2015 at 19:35:02
I have just posted on the wrong thread about this idiocy.

Every time this poor excuse for a PL manager opens his mouth I despair.

Interesting derby; symmetrical as against assy-fecking-metrical now this statement which can do nothing for Robles's confidence is beyond comment. I am so angry I have to be careful what I write about this man.

Duncan McDine
35 Posted 09/02/2015 at 19:27:36
So its official then, Bobby has completely lost the plot. Nice shoes for a nutter though, I'll give him that.
Mike Gaynes
36 Posted 09/02/2015 at 19:39:15
Easy, Ian, watch the blood pressure.
Ian Burns
37 Posted 09/02/2015 at 19:43:16
Mike - 37 - thanks for the advice - you are right - I am losing it over this guy - nothing personal as I like his brown shoes - he is just so far short of a PL manager and even more importantly what an EFC manager should be, I despair!

Just off to get the tablets before it's too late!

Garry Corgan
38 Posted 09/02/2015 at 19:50:24
Three clean sheets in a row for the first time in God-knows-when and Howard walks back in? Madness.
John Gee
39 Posted 09/02/2015 at 19:51:13
Whatever the policy may or may not be regarding injuries. It's fundamentally unfair and stupid to take out a player on form and replace him with a guy off form.

But, for me, the bigger issue is that neither of them are good enough. If only we had Nigel Martyn or Big Nev. Hell, I'd take Ruddy.

Jamie Barlow
40 Posted 09/02/2015 at 20:01:40
I've also read it several times and I still don't have a clue what Martinez is saying. I first agreed with Pete@32 and thought he was just keeping two goalkeepers on their toes but what does this mean – “Tim at the moment is the number one and whenever he is fit he needs to lose that position."

Surely he has lost his position with Robles doing well.

Ray Said
41 Posted 09/02/2015 at 20:09:58
The best thing RM could do is to adopt the point of view that there is NO number one for any position and no-one is safe. Make everyone earn their place and know that they have to keep on earning that place through every minute of training and matches – yes, I am looking at YOU, Mr Barry!
Mike Gaynes
42 Posted 09/02/2015 at 20:17:04
Ian, those pills work better with just a touch of a Bombay chaser.
Mike Gaynes
43 Posted 09/02/2015 at 20:17:04
John Gee #40, Big Nev is 56 and Nigel is 48, and they're both better than Ruddy. Right now.
Kevin Rowlands
44 Posted 09/02/2015 at 20:24:01
Seriously it would be pure madness to drop Robles now, seems to me that when he looked dodgy last season, he knew his opportunities were going to be rare so he was as nervous as hell. I mean mad Bobby didn't even play him in the League Cup against Swansea when we got twatted btw.

Howard's injury has been a blessing in disguise as Robles knew he was going to get a good run of games and he's been solid, leave well enough alone Martinez, the lad's earnt his place!

Colin Glassar
45 Posted 09/02/2015 at 20:38:27
Robles reminds me a bit of Adrian the WHU GK. last season he was awful but now he's steady as a rock. Keep him in the side Roberto!!
Oliver Molloy
46 Posted 09/02/2015 at 20:34:44
Jamie @ 41.

What he means is that Howard is going to go straight back in once fit, and if he performs badly he will go straight back out again, this is what I take from it anyway, it's all mind games. He is keeping Howard happy and at the same time is giving him fair warning and marking his card.

The problem for me is that Robles is playing with a decent bit of confidence after getting a run in the team, and although he still looks very much a rooky at times he has done enough to retain his position.

Allan Board
47 Posted 09/02/2015 at 20:37:06
Oh dear lord,our manager talks more rubbish and in riddles than "Tim Nice But Dim". Do the fucking math, Mr Moment – Robles's errors have only cost us one goal... your buddy Tim's errors this season? We have lost count!
Paul Tran
48 Posted 09/02/2015 at 20:44:43
Like I said the other week, Martinez should either say as little as possible, or follow the example of Aidan O'Brien and talk a lot without saying anything of consequence.

I was working in Swansea today and no-one had a bad word to say about Martinez, albeit everyone was very amused at his incessant positivity. All liked Rogers too, though a couple of people met him again after he joined LFC and said he'd turned into a complete twat.

Wayne Smyth
49 Posted 09/02/2015 at 20:56:56
Before we slag off the manager too much based on a few words it is worth reading the thread about McCarthy being injured before the derby....which also resulted in the manager getting called all sorts (again) for absolutely no reason, because McCarthy was fine and Martinez obviously handled his rehab and reintegration very well.

So, to be fair to Martinez, he hasn't actually done anything yet, other than saying Howard is the number 1. For all we know, Robles could be getting big headed and needs to be kept on his toes. None of us are privy to what goes on at Finch Farm.

One thing we do know is that Martinez looks to have got it right when he brought him from Wigan. There is a very promising keeper there, just need to see how consistent he can be and if he can work on his decisions during one-on-ones.

Aidy Dews
50 Posted 09/02/2015 at 21:01:30
We all know Howard is № 1 but Robles has been playing well and deserves an extended run in team! Taking him out straight away could knock his confidence.

I look to a similar situation at West Ham, Jaaskalinen was there № 1 and I think he picked up an injury and new signing at the time Adrian came in and looked shaky at times, but got his act together, started to play well and the lad his there No.1 now and looking like a very good premier league keeper!

Howard isn't going to go on forever so maybe we should show some faith in Joel for as long as poss, see if he keeps his form up and if not, bring Howard back in and look for a new keeper come the summer.

But Joel deserves an extended run in the side currently.

Paul Jeronovich
51 Posted 09/02/2015 at 21:09:26
Got to say I was Robles' biggest critic but I'm eating my words now. He's got confidence and looks quite commanding. I was shitting it at first though.
Keith Glazzard
52 Posted 09/02/2015 at 21:04:29
Roberto, worry about making chances, not disrupting an improving defence.
Dave Lynch
53 Posted 09/02/2015 at 21:33:22
As Keith has pointed out.

He needs to concentrate on attack, not the defence which is pretty watertight at present. Lukaku needs dropping pronto and Barry needs to be told he is no more than a bit part player from now on.

I pray to God BK has a backup plan and sacks this clown when we reach safety, I cannot stomach another season of shite on the field followed by shite coming out of his mouth.

Milos Milenkovic
54 Posted 09/02/2015 at 21:42:22
Why? Why do you need to go out and say something like this? Even if you are rating Howard much higher you are not going public and undermine your current goalkeeper!!?? Totally shocking...
Ross Edwards
55 Posted 09/02/2015 at 21:52:12
Thought so. Sticking with favourites even if they are complete liabilities. Howard and Barry get a guaranteed starting place while Robles and Besic, who have been excellent recently, have to make way.

I'd get rid of both Howard and Barry.

Ross Edwards
56 Posted 09/02/2015 at 21:54:07
Kevin Tully, just a quick question. What did you think of Naismith under Moyes? And what did you think when we signed McCarthy?

What do you think now? Opinions changed?

Andy Crooks
57 Posted 09/02/2015 at 21:52:32
How is it fickle or odd or indeed anything other than sensible to want Robles to keep his place? Howard has had a long run in the side. He is not going to get any better and has been mostly out of form for some time.

Robles has been short of game time and looked nervy and shot of confidence in his limited opportunities. He gets a run in the side, confidence grows and he plays well. He is undoubtedly going to improve. So the coach comes out with another uncalled for, asinine, confidence destroying piece of shit.

Ian Riley
58 Posted 09/02/2015 at 21:34:18
The injury to Howard came at the right time. His performances were poor and it saved the manager dropping him. At present the defence is a tight unit and having a consistent back five keeping clean sheets is vital when not scoring.

Robles needed games to gain confidence and for us to judge him. His pace and flexibility allows him to predict and react. At times he will make mistakes, that is expected. I would be shocked if the manager dropped him, based on what?

Sean Kelly
59 Posted 09/02/2015 at 22:09:23
If there were medals given out for being a gobshite Martinez would win golds no problem. He would even be an Olympic champion. FFS this just confirms what we all know. He has his favourites and no matter how badly they perform they will be kept in the team.

Howard had a decent few games in the World Cup but he has been shite for us on consistently. He should have been given a long term contract at his age. Barry also was given a three year deal. Are we a retirement home or a football club. Mourinho wouldnÂ’t give them a two-year deal so why should we be different.

Th message this send out is if you are young and play well IÂ’m going to keep you in the stiffs. Is it no wonder the likes of Garbutt Besic and Oviedo get frustrated with Martinez. These are the future of our club and he is telling them basically to "fuck off IÂ’m in charge".

Hopefully these players will be at our club longer than Mr Ego.

Ross Edwards
60 Posted 09/02/2015 at 22:34:20
To those saying it's fickle, why would you change and fiddle with a defence that's settled? It's basic management.
Brin Williams
61 Posted 09/02/2015 at 22:33:43
I rated Robles when I saw him in the Final for Wigan against City. I thought he had incredible potential.

When he played his first games for us it was his unamazing punched clearances that scared the shite out of me and now that he has apparently stopped that he certainly has gone up again in my estimation.

He is a big young lad in a very special moment who I think could be our man between the sticks for years to come - if he gets some credible encouragement from the right people.

Phil Sammon
62 Posted 09/02/2015 at 22:48:09
I think every one of us was a bit jittery at the prospect of Robles in goal when Howard got injured. He's proven a lot of people wrong and, in part, that's down to his own confidence.

Cue Roberto, stepping up to shatter that confidence. So even if he keeps a clean sheet at free scoring Chelsea, he will make way for Howard who HAS TO LOSE his position. So there you have it, you can't 'win your place' in this Everton side. Someone has to play atrociously for weeks on end until they lose the place for themselves.

How do you like that logic from Mr Positive?

Phil Sammon
63 Posted 09/02/2015 at 23:00:09
Another small matter. I thought Martinez, with all the value he puts on possession, would value Robles pretty highly. In fact, I honestly thought his distribution was a major factor in the purchase. Tim Howard is very obviously not a footballer. He's an athletic lad who has had his heart set on other sports growing up. You can tell this simply by watching him with the ball at his feet. Robles is a footballer. He looks natural. He can kick a ball. He can also find a team mate.

3 clean sheets on the bounce. How can you possibly talk about replacing him?

Colin Glassar
64 Posted 09/02/2015 at 23:08:08
He can't take a pen though, Phil. Sorry Joel, that was cruel I know.
Ian Tunstead
65 Posted 09/02/2015 at 23:26:52
No, no, no, no, Martinez! This is basic management again!

You do not change a winning side, or a side that has not lost, especially after such a bad run of results, and you certainly don’t change a defense that has not conceded. Where is the incentive to improve and fight for your place?

I am not the biggest fan of Robles, but credit where credit is due, he has earned his place! Martinez, you have no idea, my friend. Just sit back, shut up and let the players decide for themselves, you have lost all credibility and respect.

Russell Smith
66 Posted 09/02/2015 at 23:25:24
Madness or what!! Robles is growing with every game, the defence appear comfortable playing in front of him, and when he has been called on he has made some crucial saves.

Gerard's free kick in the derby was not dissimilar to the one Howard flapped into the net last year, yet Robles made it look simple to save. When Stirling broke through, did Robles do a "star jump" like our No 1 would have done. No; he stayed big and made the save. Howard should earn his place back not just walk in.

At Spurs, Pochetino is playing young in-form players throughout the team and the big names are sitting on the bench. Martinez should take note and keep playing the form players, of which Robles is one.

Russell Smith
67 Posted 09/02/2015 at 23:36:39
Colin (#65) — neither can Mirallas!
Nicholas Ryan
68 Posted 09/02/2015 at 23:32:10
There are about 30 comments on this thread.... number who support return of Howard .... er...Zero!

Take note, Roberto; this is probably the first time in history, that 30 Evertonians have agreed on anything!!

James Stewart
69 Posted 10/02/2015 at 00:43:13
I'm not a fan of Robles or Howard but you don't drop a keeper after clean sheets. Howard has been shite this season; it's not like we missed him.
Teddy Bertin
70 Posted 10/02/2015 at 00:37:14
I think give the lad a run. He’s only improved from more starts, which is no surprise in a young goalie.

I will say to all the Howard haters though, that, while I’m not his biggest fan, he loves Everton Football Club and has been nothing but grateful for the chance that Moyes gave him to establish himself in the PL. He’s not the best goalie in the world but, after the World Cup, the American public thought that he was and he could have gone back home and earnt a fortune off the back of the publicity generated. He didn’t and he stayed with us because he loves the club and believes he still has something to offer. I think for that he deserves some respect.

It’s sad to see him such an unpopular figure. I for one am grateful for the passion and effort that he has put into the club over the years. We’re so quick to jump down the necks of players who show ambitions to play for richer clubs yet we give no credit to players who have stuck with us for years, winning nothing and earning less than they could elsewhere.

Rob Newling
71 Posted 10/02/2015 at 01:21:24
May have kept 3 consecutive clean sheets, but he's not exactly scoring at the other end ! ;-)

Jokes aside, these sort of comments worry me. I get that a certain amount 'foxing' keeps people guessing, but you never when RM's being serious these days.

Mark Andersson
72 Posted 10/02/2015 at 02:46:34
Great comments, some really funny ones too. I think we all need some pills and locked up in the same padded cell as Roberto.

A lot of people were scared shitless when Howard got injured, itÂ’s all very well saying in hindsight "IÂ’m happy to eat humble pie" but why didnÂ’t you just support your players instead of the rediculous negative comments.

I love nothing more than reading TW every day as it proves that IÂ’m sane in insane world. Keep it up, Bobby and fellow ToffeeWebbers, you certainly entertain me more than the team do on the field.

Michael Winstanley
73 Posted 10/02/2015 at 04:29:36
I think this is a great bit of marketing by Roberto, lets assume Robles has another decent game against Chelsea (and we win 2-1 say), our next game is in Europe and Howard's first opportunity to impress and I believe he has to.

Joel is showing great form, he's learning in every game, our defenders are quite vocal in telling him what they expect from him. I can't remember any of our defenders rollicking Howard for any of his mistakes. I like that difference, I think it's a positive to build on.

But Howard is our No.1 and deserves his chance to prove he is equally as good as Robles. We all know the answer to that if he plays anything like he did until he got injured, so it's a bit of a no brainer from Martinez when he says it's Tim's to lose.

Last season we saw the emergence of John Stones, I'm hoping this season we see a similar progression with Robles. I'm extremely pleased he's proving me and many other doubters wrong, let's hope he continues his form against Chelsea.

Mohammed Horoub
74 Posted 10/02/2015 at 06:58:57
If Petr Cech can be benched then I don't see why Howard has to come back into a side that is playing well defensively... These are the fine margins between the Mourinho's and Martinez's of this world. Mourinho wants trophies. He'll step on egos to get there.

Martinez wants the highest number of Facebook friends and likes from current and former players. We have our very own Miss Congeniality... We're like Goldilocks – we tried Miserable and Dour and then Happy Clappy... There has to be a middle ground somewhere out there!

Ajay Gopal
75 Posted 10/02/2015 at 07:10:38
I can't believe the abuse that Martinez is getting for his comments regarding Tim Howard & Joel Robles. How fickle we are!! When Robles was brought in for a very low fee (or was it free?), he was labelled an ex-Wigan and thus not suitable for Everton (despite having just won the FA Cup keeping a clean sheet against Man City). Then, when Tim Howard had a few bad games at the beginning of the season, people called for Robles to be given a chance. Martinez gave him a few chances in the Europa/League Cup, and fans decided that Robles was shit.

Now when Robles has been given a run of games, he has proved that he can be an able deputy to Tim Howard. I agree with Martinez – in spite of some mistakes that has cost us valuable points unfortunately, Tim Howard is Everton's № 1 goalkeeper. That is how you keep Tim Howard on his toes and also Joel Robles knows that his time will come in one or two seasons and he can become Everton's № 1 for a very long time to come. I don't see this as anything other than good GK management by Martinez. It is interesting that nobody now seems to be talking about GK being our № 1 priority to address in the summer.

My hunch about how this will play out (as many others have mentioned before me) is that Tim Howard will probably move to an MLS club to see out his remaining playing days. And we could hardly grudge him that for his long and mostly illustrious service to Everton. Whether it will happen this summer or the next year, I don't know.

Phil Sammon
76 Posted 10/02/2015 at 07:42:28

What a load of nonsense. People wanted Robles to be given a chance ages ago. He got a few games here and there and looked a liability. It was almost unanimously decided that Howard wasn't going to lose his place.

Fast forward a few months and first team football has been thrust upon Robles by Howard's injury. Howard having been out of form for a while, I should add. The Spaniard comes in, looks more assured than ever and keeps a run of clean sheets. People now seem to agree that Robles should keep his place.

That is not 'fickle', Ajay. That is judging on merits. Robles has earned that spot by taking his chance this time around.

Laurie Hartley
77 Posted 10/02/2015 at 08:01:07
It's a no-brainier this one.

Robles is 24, 6'-5", can pluck a ball out of the air from set pieces, has kept three clean sheets on the trot after replacing a goalkeeper who was sadly out of form, is playing behind a back four that now looks far less jittery, and he can throw a ball past the halfway line and find a man, and is willing to go down at a forward's feet.

Phew, that was a long sentence.

Ross Edwards
78 Posted 10/02/2015 at 08:24:50
Is it fickle, Ajay, or is it basic management? You don't put a young keeper in and then declare triumphantly that you'll drop him when he's in form to make way for Howard as it's his position to lose or whatever he said.

That's going to knock Joel's confidence isn't it? Basically no matter what he does on Wednesday, he's going to get dropped for Howard anyway.

Yet again, players picked on reputation over form.

Kevin Elliott
79 Posted 10/02/2015 at 08:12:30
Teddy. 71.

Do you honestly think that if Howard had been approached by a richer club with a chance of winning silverware, that he would have turned it down?

Lee Wareham
80 Posted 10/02/2015 at 08:49:12
How long do we have to put up with a 2nd class manager who is clearly out of his depth? Give Joel some confidence, let him know he can keep his place if he keeps performing.
Andrew Ellams
81 Posted 10/02/2015 at 08:41:40
Nobody has declared anything triumphantly. I will be holding judgement on this until Howard is fit and the manager makes his call.
Phill Thompson
82 Posted 10/02/2015 at 11:50:41
The key for me is: Do we need a new GK for next season?

I would regard Joel (sounds like Superman's uncle) as equal with Tim at the moment. Both could make mistakes and cost us a game; both on their day are capable of keeping a clean sheet. But... I can't see Tim playing a further full season both from an age/ form perspective and I for one would be happy for him to have a swansong in the MLS. Joel has earned an extended run, let's see how he does between now and the end of the season. If he doesn't cut it, get that new GK in in the summer.

Tommy Coleman
83 Posted 10/02/2015 at 12:08:53
Pete Edwards - Correct. Nowhere does RM say Howard walks straight back in.

People want to see what suits their agenda.

Gavin Johnson
84 Posted 10/02/2015 at 12:16:19
I thought Robles cost us around ٢m, I know it was an undisclosed, but that that was the figure banded around. We certainly didn't pick him up for peanuts. He was an Athletico Madrid player who had been held in high esteem in Spain, and still is, judging on the interest last summer when La Liga clubs wanted to take him back. He was ahead of De Gea a couple of seasons before. So I never looked upon him as ex-Wigan as such.

When we signed him, I thought he would eventually oust Howard. Which could still come to pass if Howard goes in the summer. If so, I hope we go back in for Nyland and we have two good young goalkeepers for years to come.

Phil Sammon
85 Posted 10/02/2015 at 13:04:44
Tommy Coleman,

I take it you didn't hear Martinez's press conference. Howard WILL walk straight back in the team.

David Graves
86 Posted 10/02/2015 at 14:02:42
It appears that the ToffeeWeb hair-trigger has gone off again. This week I've read that Martinez is a liar and an effin' fraud because McCarthy isn't fit for the Derby.

Now I'm reading that as soon as Howard is fit Robles gets dropped. It might be more appropriate to wait and see what actually happens before piling in to give Martinez another kicking.

Sam Morrison
87 Posted 10/02/2015 at 14:45:06
Good post David (88).

Surprised by how many people let one soundbite in one press conference define the manager. The club are asked questions and have to answer them. Every time a player says "We have to do better" there's a chorus of Shut Up and Play on TW. Conversely if they don't speak to the media they get accused of either shirking or being miserable twats.

Along with everyone else who said Roberto had bought a dud, I'd be disappointed if Howard walked back into the team with Robles on this form. But let's wait til it actually happens.

Kevin Tully
88 Posted 10/02/2015 at 14:54:09
David and Sam, does this mean we can't hysterically type away whilst spitting at the screen and frothing at the mouth?

Aaahhh shit....I suppose we will will actually have to wait until we lose the next game then, eh?

Don't worry though, I've got my laptop fully charged for the Chelsea debacle!!

Clive Lewis
89 Posted 10/02/2015 at 15:01:36
Would it not be better not to mention favorites, how must Robles be feeling knowing that he is always going to be second fiddle.

There is no way Howard would have saved some of them shots that Robles saved. His height is a major advantage.

Sam Morrison
90 Posted 10/02/2015 at 15:41:01
I'm afraid so Kev (90).

The manager debate must never been seen in shades of grey, with nuance or subtlety!

Teddy Bertin
91 Posted 10/02/2015 at 16:02:55
Kevin 81.

Not in Europe, Kev... but, after his World Cup PR frenzy, he could have had his pick of a team in the MLS, earned more, and had a much better chance of silverware. He was a national hero for a minute, remember. Even Obama phoned him up.

Michael Kenrick
92 Posted 10/02/2015 at 16:25:20
David and Sam, I think it's reasonable for fans who have seen Robles perform well in goal in the last few games to express their concerns, based on the language the manager used. Sounds from the following like he's set on Howard returning, at least that's how the media is interpreting it today:

"Whenever Tim is fit, he is our number one, with the experience he has and what he represents in the squad," the manager said.

"I have total faith in him and it is great to see him fit and training again and having a massive influence in our squad.

"The goalkeeping position is different to any outfield one – I do feel the outfield positions are more about moments of form, ways of playing against the opposition, different ways of approaching games.

"But in goal, I think you need a bit of stability.

"Joel has been really good – I have been so pleased with his last two performances.

"I think the clean sheets against Crystal Palace and Liverpool have shown the size of the goalkeeper we have.

"He is still a young man in terms of amount of games, but he is someone with a real good future. I have been so proud of his performances."

Of course we will have to wait and see what the line-up is... but there is enough there, surely, to justify comment.

Brian Hennessy
94 Posted 10/02/2015 at 16:59:55
This is the type of decision making that backs up my feelings that Martinez will never become a great manager.

A blind man and his donkey could see Howard was struggling for form. Robles, after a shakey start, has begun to show excellent form and commands his box far more than Howard ever will.

As others have said, the message from RM is clear: no matter how badly some players are playing (Howard, Barry), they will keep their place.

So much for competition for places.

David Graves
95 Posted 10/02/2015 at 17:38:05

There may well be enough to warrant debate but by post 3 we had our first 'Martinez out' comment.

If he drops Robles he'll be making a mistake. But at the moment it's only an if isn't it?

Andy Crooks
96 Posted 10/02/2015 at 18:17:36
Teddy, there are no Howard haters on this site. Only Evertonians who admire and respect him but believe he is past his best.
Giacomo Trifoglio
97 Posted 10/02/2015 at 18:19:05
"I have total faith in him and it is great to see him fit and training again and having a massive influence in our squad."

Aye, a massive "oh fuck" influence.

Mike Gaynes
98 Posted 10/02/2015 at 18:43:19
Andy #99, would love to borrow your rose-colored glasses for a while.

" Howard haters on this site... only Evertonians who admire and respect him... "

I could rattle off the names of at least a dozen TWers who believe, and have always believed, that Howard is shite... and have never been shy about expressing the thought, even last season when most thought he was at his very best. I've had pretty heated debates with most of them.

Darren Hind
99 Posted 10/02/2015 at 18:31:08
Whats all this "fickle" Nonsense ?

It's true there was a large section of our fanbase saying Robles should not ever play and there is also a large section saying it will be a disgrace if Martinez now drops him... but what possess people to get all outraged and claim the two sections are made up of the same people?

Martinez has thousands of critics and he has given cause for them to criticise just about every aspect of his management. I can accept that a few people have changed their minds about Robles, but the suggestion that Martinez only ever get panned by the same group of people is laughable.

Would it not be more logical to suggest the main critics of Martinez's statement are those who were screaming for Howard to be axed long before his injury?

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
100 Posted 10/02/2015 at 18:51:39
Great points, Darren. I wish people could refrain from using words like 'fickle' and 'haters' and 'agenda'...

Howard is getting near the end of his career, some think the time has come; others not. Some think he's done a good job for Everton; others not. Opinions differ.

Please can we discuss the topic and offer our opinions without interjecting these gratuitous labels and sweeping generalizations that contribute nothing. Thanks, lads.

Darren Hind
101 Posted 10/02/2015 at 18:52:54
And while I'm at it, how can the angry reaction to Martinez's statement be "Hair-Trigger" ? whats all this "wait and see what happens " ? . . Its already happened.

The crime was committed when Martinez very publicly told his young keeper that despite showing tremendous balls to turn things around personally and despite playing his part in a massive improvement. He was still number two to the ageing clanger merchant who was responsible for many of the goals we conceded in the early part of the season

I'm not sure what shocks me the most, the fact that an Everton Manager could make such a crass statement, or the fact that we have fans trying to defend it

Tony Marsh
102 Posted 10/02/2015 at 19:03:01
Sorry, guys, but I think Howard sucks and he has done for a few seasons now. If he isn't flapping at crosses, he is doing that silly star jump attempt at goalkeeping.

Robles has been one of the few shining lights this winter. What Roberto Martinez has done now is set Howard up for a fall. It's bound to happen tomorrow night. It's the Everton way: drop your in-form player for one of the old guard and wreck the chance of winning the game... Makes me sick.

Tony Marsh
103 Posted 10/02/2015 at 19:09:58
Just been on Sky Sport News, our manager (the next Barca coach) confirms Tim Howard starts tomorrow night?!?

How to destroy a young goalie – lesson Number One? Cheers, Roberto.

Paul Tran
104 Posted 10/02/2015 at 19:29:42
Agree with all the comments about 'haters', as long as we also include the stuff aimed at those of us who don't want Martinez's head on a spike yesterday.

If he drops Robles, I despair.
Shocking man-management, shocking team selection. Howard has been a liability this season, while Robles deserves plenty of credit and a good run in the team for overcoming his nerves and starting to look like a decent keeper. Some reward....

It would be another poor decision in a season full of Martinez clangers. And perhaps another nail in his coffin?

Gavin Johnson
105 Posted 10/02/2015 at 19:31:45
Robles has surpassed many peoples expectations on TW (including me) He has greatly improved after a run in the side, and it could be said he only looks like he is going to get better, so why drop him?! In the last few games he has looked more assured than Howard has all season.

So I don't understand why anyone would say it was fickle to criticise Martinez on Howard's reinstatement... It's a bad call! The poll on this site and the Echo confirms the consensus of blues agrees with this.

Tony #104 Your post made me laugh. It's not just me that's noticed those comical star jumps then.

Ian Tunstead
106 Posted 10/02/2015 at 19:36:25
The biggest scandal and potential tragedy is the fact that Garbutt is still not being given the opportunity and still hasn’t signed a new contract. How can this be allowed to happen as well as Mirallas signaling he wants out?

This smells of a manager who has lost the confidence and respect of his players and want out before the ship sinks. If Garbutt is allowed to go on a free next season It will be unforgivable! We will regret it massively.

James Stewart
107 Posted 10/02/2015 at 19:46:37
@13 have to agree. Martinez is a PR wet dream of a manager but he doesn't half open himself up for criticism. The Mirallas praise was a massive own goal.

Howard is a strong dressing room influence which is why he will walk straight back into the team. He really shouldn't on ability though as he is utterly woeful.

Mike Childs
108 Posted 10/02/2015 at 19:56:32
Should I book my plane?
Graham Mockford
109 Posted 10/02/2015 at 19:56:58
I personally would still have Tim over Robles, but then again I'd pick Ossie ahead of Barkley or Barry when he's fit.
Andy Crooks
110 Posted 10/02/2015 at 20:47:45
Mike, saying someone is shite is football parlance for him having a bad game. No one hates him.
Tony Hill
111 Posted 10/02/2015 at 21:01:27
James 109, you are correct about Howard's dressing room influence and I suspect that the dominance of certain senior players has been a problem this season.

By the way, and with apologies to those who think we're already safe, we could do with Hull and QPR being pegged back tonight.

Gavin McGarvey
112 Posted 10/02/2015 at 21:07:28
This is one of those things that drives football fans mad, but is part of the way most clubs operate. As I understand it, if you lose your place as a result of injury, then you get it back when you're fit again. If you lose it as a result of loss of form then you have to win it back on merit.

It's a kind of seniority thing, and I guess part of the loyalty players expect from managers, particularly at clubs with smaller clubs where the expectation to play is part of the deal when negotiating contracts. Nobody complained about McCarthy walking straight back into the side did they? If Martinez had said he had to play his way back in there would have been an uproar on her and rightly so.

Robles has done well, and I'm glad because in the past he's looked shaky. If Martinez had left out a fit Howard he'd have had even more trouble in the dressing room than he is currently. So he's come out and said Howard's the No.1 keeper. This type of thing has happened before and it always frustrates us. I'd like to see Robles keep his place until he loses it, but I can see why Martinez feels he needs to show loyalty to his players.

Jim Hardin
113 Posted 11/02/2015 at 16:04:30
Phil 66 "Tim Howard is very obviously not a footballer. He's an athletic lad who has had his heart set on other sports growing up. You can tell this simply by watching him with the ball at his feet. Robles is a footballer. He looks natural. He can kick a ball. He can also find a team mate."

Actually, the last time I checked the stats show Howard has a better ger game average of finding teammates and his distribution is actually farther up the field (70% accuracy in distribution vs 50% and 44 m versus 37m. He catches more balls rather than punching them into danger unlike Robles. Howard doesn't spill the ball very often so his defenders know if his hands get to it and he is catching it he will keep it.

You don't need a footballer in goal you need a keeper. BTW Howard started playing soccer as a very young child. He was a GK and a midfielder, played youth club and also high school in a State where large immigrant populations made soccer the primary sport and the development of the kids was above that of almost anywhere else in the USA (just look at the number of USA national players team players from NJ over the last 30 years). He played for one of our lower developmental leagues as a teenager not yet out of high school.
Also, last season Howard was better than Cech, Lloris and De Gea in distribution accuracy, goals conceeded, saves, catches, saves per goal, and clean sheets so wow he must really suck.

Given the number of successful American keepers before him and now with Guzan, perhaps you should do a little research into what makes a good gk other than being 6'5" and relatively immobile but wow he sure can dribble it with his feet!

Jim Hardin
114 Posted 11/02/2015 at 16:04:30
Phil 66 "Tim Howard is very obviously not a footballer. He's an athletic lad who has had his heart set on other sports growing up. You can tell this simply by watching him with the ball at his feet. Robles is a footballer. He looks natural. He can kick a ball. He can also find a team mate."

Actually, the last time I checked the stats show Howard has a better ger game average of finding teammates and his distribution is actually farther up the field (70% accuracy in distribution vs 50% and 44 m versus 37m. He catches more balls rather than punching them into danger unlike Robles. Howard doesn't spill the ball very often so his defenders know if his hands get to it and he is catching it he will keep it.

You don't need a footballer in goal you need a keeper. BTW Howard started playing soccer as a very young child. He was a GK and a midfielder, played youth club and also high school in a State where large immigrant populations made soccer the primary sport and the development of the kids was above that of almost anywhere else in the USA (just look at the number of USA national players team players from NJ over the last 30 years). He played for one of our lower developmental leagues as a teenager not yet out of high school.
Also, last season Howard was better than Cech, Lloris and De Gea in distribution accuracy, goals conceeded, saves, catches, saves per goal, and clean sheets so wow he must really suck.

Given the number of successful American keepers before him and now with Guzan, perhaps you should do a little research into what makes a good gk other than being 6'5" and relatively immobile but wow he sure can dribble it with his feet!

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