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By ESPN Staff

Howard resigned to Old Trafford exit

Tim Howard believes he has been pushed a step closer to an exit from Manchester United by Edwin van der Sar's contract extension with the Old Trafford club.

And the USA international, currently on a season-long loan at Everton, understands discussions about a permanent move to Goodison Park have already taken place.

The 26-year-old feels he does not have the right mentality to be an understudy, which he clearly feels would be the case if he returned to Manchester United next season.

Now that Van der Sar has agreed a new one-year deal with the Old Trafford club, Howard admits it will affect his future.

He said: 'The contract is fantastic news for Edwin, I'd imagine United would be delighted to keep him for as long as he's fit. But it affects my mindset, of course. It's like a game of chess.

'United have made their move and it tells me what I need to do next.'

Howard has been a big hit on Merseyside and added: 'I don't do very well on the bench, to be honest. You need someone who accepts that position and doesn't rock the boat. It's not in my blood because I like a little bit of fire.

'Raimond van der Gouw was a fantastic deputy goalkeeper at United. He came in, did a job and shut his mouth. I don't think I am the type.'

And although United boss Sir Alex Ferguson admitted recently he has been impressed with Howard's form at Everton, the chances now of the goalkeeper returning to the current Premier League leaders are increasingly remote.

Everton boss David Moyes has consistently declined to discuss Howard's future, but the player now reveals: 'I had a conversation with Sir Alex when Everton went to Old Trafford recently. Without words being spoken directly about it, I think moves have been made.

'It's not like Ferguson stuck his foot up my backside and kicked me out the door.

'But without question, if it doesn't happen for me at United, it can happen somewhere else, even though I still have good friends at Old Trafford. I am still in contact with the United boys, particularly Rio Ferdinand, John O'Shea and Ryan Giggs.'