By Ridge Mahoney
American keeper Tim Howard has
made the same determination as American teammate Kenny Cooper: Manchester United is
one of the world's greatest clubs, but it isn't the right place for him.
Everton has reached an agreement to convert Howard's loan from
Manchester United into a transfer, effective in the summer. The club's
Web site stated he has signed a five-year contract by which the club
controls his rights until 2012.
"The Club share my ambition, that is for sure -- the manager [David Moyes] does and so do the
fans," Howard said to evertonTV. "I was drawn to the Club for a number
of reasons and the players in the dressing room are one of them."
Howard joined United in 2003 in a 2.3 million pound ($3.6 million)
transfer and won the starter's job, playing 44 matches (32 in the
league) in the 2003-04 season. But a costly bobble in the Champions
League and a few errors in league play prompted Alex Ferguson to platoon Howard with
Roy Carroll the following
season, during which Howard played 27 matches.
He signed a new deal with the club weeks before United bought Dutch
goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar
from Fulham. Van der Sar won the No. 1 jersey and Howard played just
six matches in the 2005-06 season before being loaned to Everton, for
which he has played 27 matches (25 league) and posted 11 shutouts.
During his brief visit to the United States last week to shut out
Mexico, 2-0, Howard compared the two English clubs.
"Everything's done differently at every club but for the most part
things are on a par," he said. "United's obviously a much, much, bigger
club, it's bigger than most clubs in the world, but it's nothing
different, nothing crazy. We go to work every day, and have game plans
that are usually similar.
"David's very ambitious, well, obviously Ferguson is ambitious and won
all the medals, but David's a very young coach. He's accomplished a lot
at a young age, He's got a lot of hunger and he's got that Scottish
blood in him. He's very, very, very driven and determined and he's
passionate. He wears it on his sleeve and he shows it in the dressing
room and on the field."
Moyes is one of the younger managers in the EPL at age 43. Fulham
manager Chris Coleman, who has
the American trio of Carlos Bocanegra,
Brian McBride and Clint Dempsey on his roster, is just
36, but Howard doesn't believe a manager's age has anything to do with
"It's not the younger guys," said Howard. "It's England, it's Europe in
general. I said this a couple of years ago, America is the new Africa.
Ten years ago, they were plucking young Africans, they were diamonds in
the rough, and they were phenomenal.
"I think it's the same here. Nobody thought much of American soccer
players, now we get loads of players coming over at fairly decent
prices, and they're good."
Cooper, who scored 11 goals for FC Dallas last season and debuted with
a goal for the U.S. against Denmark last month, also joined United in
2003 but in two and a half seasons could never break into the first
team. He returned to America a year ago after playing for Oldham and
Academia Coimbra in Portugal on loan.