sport

International break for Howard

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard has revealed that he is taking a break from international football with the United States until September 2015.

Howard announced the decision after holding talks discussions with USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who has backed the decision to spend more time with his family.

The 35-year-old, who has played 104 times for his country and been to three World Cups, will miss next summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup.

In a statement issued by the U.S. Soccer Federation, Howard said: "Having played overseas for the last 12 years and missing out on spending time with my family, making this commitment to my family is very important at this time.

"I am grateful for the willingness of both [U.S. Coach] Jurgen Klinsmann and Everton Manager Roberto Martinez to afford me the opportunity to spend time with my kids.

"It's the right decision at the right time. Jurgen has always been up front with all the players in saying you have to earn your place, which is something I agree with, so I look forward to coming back next fall and competing for a spot."

Klinsmann said: "We had a very good and productive conversation. I totally understand Tim's situation. He was very straightforward and honest in his approach, and I admire him for that.

"He has a wish to take a step back to take care of his family, and we came to the conclusion that it's absolutely fine that he takes time off from international soccer until after next summer's Gold Cup, and then we reevaluate.

"I told him as long as he is the same Tim Howard we always see performing well, he will be welcome back with open arms and right back competing for a spot. He knows he has to prove that he deserves to be back.

"This gives us a huge opportunity to see Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando going forward and fighting for the No. 1 spot."