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Boss Hails Howard Influence

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

Roberto Martinez believes Tim Howard's influence off the field is as valuable as his excellence on it.

The USA international has penned a two year extension to his contract, ensuring he will remain at Goodison until 2018 at least - when he will be 39 years old.

It is a fitting reward for a player who has been in outstanding form for the Blues all season.

And the Goodison chief does not underestimate Howard's roll in helping his side notch up a Club record haul of Premier League points whilst maintaining a constant challenge for a top four finish.

He told evertontv; "He has been vital to our overall achievements. It's not just about his performances.

"As a goalkeeper, you have a big say about what happens in your own goal and to keep the amount of clean sheets that we have this season - which is already two more than last season when we had very good numbers defensively - is impressive.

"Then you see his human values and the way he affects youngsters; he is the perfect role model for out football club. We have a good group of young goalkeepers who can follow that sort of example, and that is why it's so significant he has agreed to stay with Everton for a long, long period."

Howard, who joined Everton from Manchester United in 2006 - initially on loan - is already ranked 22nd in the Club's all-time appearance list. And that experience is something Martinez values hugely.

He added: "His belief and understanding of the game and his desire to achieve more is contagious and anything you can see in Tim - from his personality, his goalkeeping ability and his desire to improve - is tremendous.

"I think it is fair to say that being a goalkeeper is not like being an outfield player. It is a sport within a sport. Tim is a very fit 35-year-old and as a goalkeeper you probably develop the best years of your career in your 30s because you can anticipate things, dominate your area and control the players in front of you.

"It is a very good age for Tim and I know he will play on beyond 40. He is a fit man and at the peak of his powers.

"He is a unique role model. Just to be a foreign goalkeeper with international experience, being a legend back home, then coming to the British game and playing over 10 seasons, that is remarkable.

"To do it in the manner he has done, always reliable, always accumulating incredible numbers, is phenomenal."

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