Moyes hails history man Howard set to become second player to make 200 consecutive appearances
22:30 GMT, 14 December 2012
David Moyes has paid a glowing tribute to Tim Howard as the Everton goalkeeper prepares to add his name to the Barclays Premier League history books.
Howard will become only the second man in the Premier League era to make 200 consecutive appearances when he takes to the field at Stoke this afternoon – the only other player to achieve the feat is his compatriot Brad Friedel.
There have been questions raised about Howard’s form this season, particularly after he was culpable for goals against Newcastle, Southampton and Norwich, but Moyes has been quick to defend a player he took from Manchester United in 2006 to replace Nigel Martyn.
Up for it: Tim Howard is on the verge of becoming the second ever player to hit 200 consecutive games
There will come a time in the future when Moyes knows Howard needs replacing and Everton’s manager is already on the lookout for a potential successor – he enquired about England Under-21 international Jack Butland in the summer.
Moyes, though, is adamant that the day when he is no longer Everton’s No 1 is a long way off and has hailed the talent and durability which has made him one of the best in the league.
‘Tim has not had many instances in his time here where he would warrant criticism,’ said Moyes.
‘Before him, Nigel was reliable, consistent and a great man to work with. To try and find another keeper like that, who you think most weeks you can trust, was not easy – But Tim has been that.
Superb: Moyes gave Howard a glowing review and said he was a pleasure to work with
Current consecutive appearance standings
‘He has to be kept on his toes like everyone else and there are standards we feel, like everyone, he has to get to. But he has been fantastic for us, he really has. Since we took him from Manchester United, he has been an excellent goalkeeper and a great guy to work with.
‘I think he is very conscientious about his work and how he goes about it. He has helped us in so many games and he is a big part of what we do. He is a big voice in the dressing room as well.
'Tim has competition and in the main his play has been very good. We are really comfortable with him.’
Moyes will work closely with his goalkeeping coach Chris Woods when recruiting another goalkeeper and Birmingham keeper Butland, who has also been watched by Liverpool, is a player who would fit the bill.
Onwards: David Moyes says despite Howard's excellence he will still be considering the club's future keeper
‘You are always planning for who is the next Nigel Martyn Who is the next Tim Howard We are always looking to see who that next one would be,’ said Moyes.
‘You have to do that. We have enquired a couple of times about Butland, but not recently.’
Everton jumped into the top four last week with a dramatic win against Tottenham and the progress they have made over the last 12 months is significant as on this weekend last year, they were 15th with 17 points.
They must do without influential forward Kevin Mirallas, though, at Stoke.
The Belgian has suffered a recurrence of a hamstring problem and Moyes, who has revealed that Tony Hibbert requires surgery to repair a calf injury, said: ‘It is a worry because we are missing a really good player and someone who gives us a different attacking dimension.’