Roberto Martinez has hinted at a potential summer transfer for keeper Tim Howard, urging for fans to ‘appreciate and give him warmth between now and the end of the season’ while explaining that his legacy should remain tarnished.

The American shot-stopper has come under heavy fire throughout this season and the majority of last season, with fans calling for understudy Joel Robles to be promoted to number one.

As well as criticism from fans and several sarcastic cheers when the keeper claims the ball from a cross, Howard has been linked with a return to the MLS with the Colorado Rapids. Martinez moved quickly to quash any rumours not after they surfaced, explaining that his number one would not be sold.

Since then Tim has been injured, with Joel Robles coming into the team and contributing to three consecutive clean sheets, something which Howard has not done this season.

The Catalonian in his pre-match press conference for the West Brom game explained that Evertonians should appreciate all that the keeper has done for the club during his 10-year tenure at the club. He said:

Tim has another two years after this summer so I don’t have to make a decision. I’ve spoken to Tim about everything in general – how he’s feeling about the injury, his thoughts about the national team and how he feels fresh and good. All that matters now is concentrating on the games in front of us. That’s the reality.

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I think there is a respect towards Tim for what he has done at Everton over the past 10 seasons. Ten years down the line you’ll be looking back on one of Everton’s greatest goalkeepers and appreciating that he is an ambassador for the club in the way he behaves himself, helping the young players and in his day-to-day approach. He will have that legacy further down the line. I don’t think it is a case of disrespect. It’s just the short-term memory and assessment of what you have seen – that happens, I don’t think that’s being disrespectful.

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We should appreciate that and give him that warmth between now and the end of the season. I think it’s important that Tim doesn’t feel that all his good work has been forgotten.