Joel Robles set for Toffees snub as Howard returns to fitness
Everton may have kept three straight clean sheets, and conceded just four goals in their last six matches, but it appears that won’t be enough to stop Joel Robles being given the boot from the Toffees’ starting XI.
If true it’s a move that is sure to divide fans of the blue half of Merseyside, but Roberto Martinez has this week hinted that, while he has been impressed by the Spaniard’s contribution, Tim Howard is nearing a return, one that could come against Chelsea on Wednesday.
“I thought Joel did very well the last three games,” he told the Liverpool Echo.
“Crystal Palace was probably the most challenging game because there were a lot of balls in the box.
“Against Liverpool he was composed, he was calm. It’s important that we have players performing well.
“Tim at the moment is the number one and whenever he is fit he needs to lose that position”.
The news looks harsh on the Toffees’ stand-in goalkeeper, with his contribution a vital ingredient in the upturn in form that has been witnessed at Goodison Park.
Prior to Howard’s injury, Everton had lost four of their last six, their only victory in that period coming at home to QPR, a feat every side that has played the R’s at on their own patch have also achieved.
But with his understudy between the posts the Stanley Park outfit have lost just two of seven Premier League games and are unbeaten in five.
His boss has spoken of how “whenever Tim is fit, he is our number one,” and explained that this situation is different to outfield players returning from and absence.
“I do feel the outfield positions are more about moments of form, ways of playing against the opposition, different ways of approaching games.
“But in goal, I think you need a bit of stability.
Why then, he is planning to drop a man that has helped halt the free-fall that had seen the club plummet from ninth to 13th in three weeks with Howard in goal, is unclear.
Robles has earned his place in the starting line-up and would be included in the line-up on merit, and with Howard approaching their late 30s, a look to the future would have looked a more assured decision.
At the end of the day, the manager picks the team, but should Chelsea run riot with the American international retained between the sticks, many Everton fans will be looking for answers from Martinez.
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