sport

Howard signs Everton extension

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard will be staying with the club until at least 2018 after being handed a two-year contract extension.

The 35-year-old American has been a mainstay of the Everton side since joining in 2006, initially moving on loan from Manchester United before the deal was made permanent.

His deal had been due to expire at the end of the 2015/16 season but he will now be remaining at Goodison Park until he is at least 39.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez said: "It is fantastic news. To have Tim Howard performing as he has been this season, I cannot see past him to choose the best goalkeeper in the league.

"For him, in such an important year with the World Cup around the corner, to commit his future for the long term is an incredible moment for the dressing room.

"I am extremely proud of Tim's achievements for the football club. On top of his goalkeeping it's his overall demeanour and personality in the dressing room. He is a strong leader."

Howard set a Premier League record when he kept 16 clean sheets in the 2008/09 season and he has been in fine form again this term as Everton chase a UEFA Champions League place.

He has kept 13 clean sheets in 33 league appearances and is expected to start for USA at the World Cup in Brazil this summer.

A statement on the Everton website added: "Already ranked 22nd in the club's all-time appearance list, another four seasons at Goodison will ensure Howard joins the ranks of the club's most loyal servants.

"He is likely to have the opportunity to reach the prestigious 500 appearance mark - a feat only achieved by three players in Everton's long history."