Howard eyes international return

Tim Howard is ready to end his self-imposed absence from the United States national team as of September.

Veteran Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard remains eager to resume his international career with the United States later this year.

Howard opted to take a year-long break from USA duty after impressing at the 2014 World Cup and Brad Guzan of Aston Villa is set to start as first-choice for Jurgen Klinsmann's side at the upcoming Gold Cup.

However, Howard insists he is keen on returning to action should Klinsmann still wish to call upon him.

The 36-year-old told Everton's official website: "After I spoke with Jurgen, I just decided to take this year off and then come back into the fold if I was fit, healthy and playing next September. 

"I'll integrate myself back into the team if they will still have me and go from there and see what happens.

"I wanted more time with my family as I wanted more time out with my children and, to be honest, it's been a great decision."

Howard is encouraged by the continued progression of the USA - who face Netherlands and Germany in friendlies over the next six days - on the international stage.

"It's not easy in America as soccer is not the number one sport as it is everywhere else in the world," he added.

"But it's come on leaps and bounds and I think what people appreciate about the US team is we're never really out of any game. We're a bunch of guys who graft, work hard and don't understand the meaning of the word 'no'.

"One of the things Jurgen Klinsmann is not afraid to do is try young talent and throw them in at the deep end to see if they swim and can handle the pressure of playing in the international team.

"Jurgen really believes in building US soccer – not just the men's team but producing crops of players who can contribute and I think he's been brilliant so far.

"We're playing the Netherlands on a big stage [at the Amsterdam Arena on Friday] with world-class players and a crowd that will be right up for it. I'm looking forward to watching the game."