Howard Outlines USA Plans

by Hamish Dufton
@Everton

Tim Howard says he is ready to return to the USA fold after taking a break from international football.

The American custodian was allowed a sabbatical until after the Gold Cup currently being played in the States following his exploits at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s side face Jamaica in Wednesday’s semi-final in Atlanta and Howard admits he has missed representing his country.

However, after talks with his coach, the 36-year-old has earmarked a comeback in the early part of the coming campaign.

The USA face Peru in a friendly on 4 September and Howard exclusively told evertontv: “That is the plan [to return soon]. I spoke to coach Klinsmann and we have had open lines of communication as recently as last week. We spoke but obviously they are very busy with the Gold Cup at the moment.

“We will speak again after that tournament finishes and I will make myself available for selection. We will see where we go from there.

“I have missed it. It was a tough decision to make. It has been a good break, but all it has done is really fuelled my fire. I have missed the boys, the competition and playing in front of the US fans.”

In his absence, the USMNT have blazed a trail to the Gold Cup semi-finals on their home turf, seeing off Honduras, Haiti and Cuba en route.

Howard admits a victory is crucial to continuing the development of soccer in the United States and maintaining their position as CONCACAF's highest-ranked nation.

“The boys are doing well and it is a tournament that, in previous years, we have had some success in,” added the Blues stopper. “This is a big year, as it could be our entrance into the Confederations Cup in 2017.

“Winning the tournament would help us continue going in the right direction. Part of that is staying on top of the region and dominating year in and year out.

“We have set the bar high enough to expect that of ourselves.”

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