Belfast Telegraph

Howard reaches out to Mignolet

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard has warned Liverpool counterpart Simon Mignolet it will be a "hard road back" after the latter lost his place in the team.

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers said the Belgium international was set for an indefinite period on the sidelines after leaving him out against Manchester United on Sunday.

Growing criticism of Mignolet's inability to command his area and poor distribution - which some blamed for Liverpool's jittery defence - eventually took its toll and he has been replaced by Brad Jones.

Howard, no stranger to criticism himself, has some sympathy with his fellow keeper but has warned it may be difficult to come back from the blow.

"I know he is a Red but I feel for Simon. It is hard being a goalkeeper," said the American, speaking at the launch of his autobiography 'The Keeper: A Life of Saving Goals and Achieving Them'.

"The phrase is taking the goalkeeper out of the spotlight but actually it sheds more light on them.

"It is not easy. It is a confidence position and when you take him out of the team and then bring him back do the team and fans have confidence in him?"

"You have to appreciate with a goalkeeper there are going to be ups and downs especially in this league because it is so fast and rough.

"To be honest I think it is hard road back when you get taken out of the team.

"Sometimes there is no way back. It is unfortunate for a goalkeeper but that is the way it is: you cannot come on and play the last 20-30 minutes and put a good shift in.

"It is all or nothing with goalkeeping."

The United States international has faced criticism almost every season from some disgruntled Everton fans and, although some of it becomes personal via social media, Howard shrugs it off.

"Social media is, for me, non-existent. Anyone who pays attention to that - criticism or praise - is pretty silly," he added.

"I think you have to have enough positive experiences to be able to block out the criticism.

"When I was young and at Manchester United I did not have a lot in my locker to fall back on so you make a mistake and it is doom and gloom and 'You should hang him up'.

"Now I've had enough criticism and positive experiences to know that I'm not a bad goalkeeper.

"I've had it before and it will happen again - with goalkeepers the next mistake is only just around the corner.

"If you worry about that you will crumble. I think a good goalkeeper always has to have a manager who believes in him."

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