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Manchester derby tale of the tape


Myhre: Mucha must make his mark

Jan Mucha must take the chance to secure his Everton future after being given a long-awaited chance in the Premier League, according to former first-choice keeper Thomas Myhre.

Ex-Norway international Myhre - the man who effectively ended Neville Southall's 17-year first-team career at Goodison Park - believes Mucha has to show manager David Moyes he can provide proper competition in goal for Tim Howard.

Mucha, signed from Legia Warsaw in the summer of 2010, went almost three years without making a league appearance as Howard blocked his path to the first-team. But the former Slovakia international finally made his Premier League debut in a 3-1 win over Reading on March 2 after Howard broke two bones in his back.

Mucha was then part of the Everton side who suffered a 3-0 FA Cup quarter-final defeat at home to Wigan seven days later, but recovered to keep a clean sheet as Premier League champions Manchester City were beaten 2-0 at Goodison Park last Saturday.

The 30-year-old is out of contract in the summer, and has been told he must make an impression by Myhre, who spent four years at Goodison Park after arriving from Norwegian club Viking Stavanger in 1997.

The former Norway international told the Liverpool Echo: "Whatever happens between now and the summer, Jan has to play as well as possible to make a statement. It is not easy being a deputy sometimes and Tim Howard has done ever so well for the club. The thing for Jan is that Tim has hardly ever been injured.

"Tim performs well season in, season out and it's been hard to see how he could be rested. David Moyes said earlier this season that maybe he needed another keeper to keep Tim on his toes, but Jan has done well since he came in.

"He made some very good saves against City and I'm sure it was a relief for him. Maybe Jan will be thinking about playing so well he gives the manager something to think about when Tim is fit."

Myhre knows all about the difficulties of taking over from a long-serving keeper, having deposed Southall as Everton's first choice after arriving in November 1997.

The Norweigan remained the No. 1 keeper throughout the 1998-99 season, but then lost his place to Paul Gerrard as he struggled with injuries, and ended up going out on loan to Rangers, Birmingham, Tranmere and FC Copenhagen before leaving to join Turkish club Besiktas in 2001.

He said: "I played 80 or so games for Everton but then got injured and found it very difficult to get my place back when I recovered. It will be interesting to see what Moyes does. Everton haven't kept as many clean sheets as I'm sure they would have liked to this season. I'm certainly not saying that's Tim's fault but Jan will be wanting to make his mark."


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