Duo Have Defensive Know-How
Keeper Tim says Jagielka and Distin have a great understanding.
Tim Howard believes Everton are capable of emulating the defensive stinginess that saw them make history two years ago.
The Blues racked up a Club record 17 clean sheets in the 2008/09 season with Howard proudly displacing legendary stopper Neville Southall in the record books.
Key to that achievement was consistency at the heart of the defence with Joleon Lescott and Phil Jagielka forging a formidable unit.
The duo played nearly every game and Howard watched their understanding develop match by match.
The USA international – named the Club’s player of the month for September – says he see similar potential in Jagielka’s current partnership with Sylvain Distin.
The pair worked superbly in unison to thwart Liverpool on Sunday and earn a third successive shutout – a sequence Everton’s 31-year-old glovesman is confident can be extended.
He said: “Defensively we have been rock solid, we have cohesiveness and the relationship between the back four and keeper is the key to that.
“We have limited the chances against us and made our blocks when we have needed to. When you combine that with your goalkeeper pulling off the odd save then that is what it is all about.
“We have consistency and a certainty about the back four and that is so important. A couple of seasons back we had Phil Jagielka and Joleon Lescott and that worked great. I can see the same happening now with Sylvain Distin and Jags.
“They have that understanding. They can read each other perfectly, their body language – everything.
“I have always said that – no disrespect to anyone – Jags would the first name on my teamsheet anywhere. The guy is a rock and he and Sylvain complement each other well.”
The Blues head to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday looking to extend their recent upturn in form and Howard says the team’s strong foundations mean they have every chance.
“We are excited and have been playing with confidence, we have got momentum and we want to carry on,” he said.
“Spurs have built a wonderfully-talented squad and beat us there twice last season. We are going down to roll our sleeves up and dig in and, off the back of how we are playing, we think we can get something there.
“You have to tip your hat to Tottenham and what they have achieved in finishing fourth last season,” he added. “But we don’t look at them with envy or jealousy and when we stand toe to toe with them I don’t see there being much in it.”