Howard has no regrets
Toffees keeper takes positives from disappointing spell at United
By Chris Burton. Last Updated: 19/04/09 10:41am
Howard: One of the best
Tim Howard insists he has become a better player since being discarded by Manchester United.
The American keeper secured a dream move to Old Trafford in 2003 and enjoyed an eye-catching debut season in England.
However, things soon turned sour and he found himself out of favour under Sir Alex Ferguson.
He jumped at the opportunity to join Everton on loan in 2006 and made that move permanent in February 2007.
Howard has since gone on to become one of the Premier League's most consistent performers and can now look back on his time spent at United in a positive light.
"Nowadays, I don't regret leaving United at all because the way things have panned out has been good for me," said the 30-year-old shot-stopper.
"I spent three years at United and although at the time I left I was disappointed the way things had turned out, I am one of those people who doesn't get bitter.
"Life goes on and I think they are better off and I am better off. If you look at it that way it worked out pretty well. I could have stayed at United for the next 10 years if I wanted to and been a No.2.
"My ambition was to play and I wasn't playing. As it turns out, not many people have played there since Edwin (van der Sar) went to the club and he has done an amazing job.
"I understand the business side of why United signed him because I agreed the new contract (in 2005) from a business standpoint. At Manchester United you need competition for every place and you need more than one big player for every position so it didn't surprise me - it was just a disappointment.
"But I have definitely become a better keeper since leaving. When you get a run of games you are able to see what you do well and what you are doing wrong, and have the ability to correct it and keep pushing on.
"Soon I will have completed three years at Everton so I will have spent as much time at Goodison as I did at United. I had to leave so I could get out and play so I don't regret it at all.
"I feel I am a halfway-decent player but Alex Ferguson has been in the game longer than I have been alive. He was winning trophies before that so he understood where I was coming from and that I had to leave."
Howard is hoping to get one over on his former employers when Everton face United in the FA Cup semi-finals on Sunday, with the Toffees desperate to end a 14-year wait for a major trophy.
"I know the passion they felt in 1995 and the hunger they feel to win something, so that puts pressure on us," he said.
"We now need silverware because we have been talked about as a team just outside the top four and we are ready to kick on."