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Howard to strive for starting berth

Tim Howard has told FOX Sports that he will put in the hard work required to retain his status as Everton's first-choice goalkeeper.

• Blog: A favourable start

New manager Roberto Martinez is in the market for another 'keeper after the release of back-up option Jan Mucha earlier this month.

And the new arrival will be expected to provide serious competition for Howard, who recovered from struggles with form and injury last season.

The 34-year-old was poor during the first half of the campaign, with then-manager David Moyes indicating in November that he needed stronger competition for the goalkeeper's jersey.

Howard responded with better displays after Christmas, but then suffered a back injury in March, missing three matches.

He fought back to regain his place from Mucha, and is aiming to ensure he keeps it next season.

Howard told FOX Sports: "You have to be more diligent as you age.

"I train hard; I don't miss training. You have to keep a good rhythm. I have to mind my age. My maintenance is higher. I lift weights harder and heavier than I ever have now at 34, to keep my body fit."

The shot-stopper kept a clean sheet on Tuesday night as the United States moved closer to a place at next year's World Cup finals in Brazil with a 1-0 win over Honduras.

And he believes his experience is helping to compensate for the fact that he is no longer as athletic as he once was.

He added: "When I was younger, I just relied on my athleticism because I didn't have the other piece of the puzzle.

"Now that I have that experience I don't try to go looking for things to do, to show you how athletic I am.

"I now know how much easier you can make a save, just by being in the right position. That's why goalkeepers get better with age - you learn the intricacies of the position."

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