Howard struggling to represent club, country
Posted: Tuesday October 12, 2004 8:37PM; Updated: Tuesday October 12, 2004 8:37PM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Goalkeeper Tim Howard is finding it increasingly difficult to earn a place in the starting line-up for both the U.S. national team and his English Premier League club Manchester United.
This week, Howard was expected to split a pair of World Cup qualifiers with Kasey Keller, but he was on the bench for the 2-0 win in El Salvador on Saturday and will also make way for Keller in Wednesday's match against Panama.
"I'm not getting a game tomorrow," he said following a training session on Tuesday.
Howard has spoken to U.S. coach Bruce Arena several times during the national team camp that began on October 4, but said that he could not pinpoint any specific reasons why he was not going to play.
"There were no reasons that I can recall," he said.
"I'm not frustrated, but I'm disappointed. Everything (with Arena) was confident, there was nothing negative. We've been okay. We talked about the situation going forward, but again, there's only one game that's important and that's tomorrow."
The U.S. can clinch a place in the six-nation final qualifying round for Germany 2006 with a home victory over Panama.
Howard, who has won 12 caps, last played for his club in a 2-2 Champions League draw with Lyon on September 15 but has since fallen out of favour with manager Alex Ferguson and has not even featured in the reserves.
"Tim is very capable," Arena said.
"He's playing with one of the biggest clubs in the world right now. If he continues to work hard, there's no reason why he can't be number one at Manchester United and number one for the national team.
"These things (not starting) happen," Arena added. "He's having his ups and downs, but all through it, Timmy's been incredibly supportive of Kasey (Keller) and this team."
Keller has also had problems getting a game and he has not played an English Premier League match all season with Tottenham Hotspur since losing his place to England keeper Paul Robinson.
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