Last updated : 02 January 2004 By Editor

'Tim Howard has been the star of the show this season.

'He is quick, alert, agile, courageous and has speed. It's all there for us to see.

'I thought I would have to leave him out for a bit in October, but it hasn't happened.'

'If you look at the other players we brought in during the summer Kleberson had played in a World Cup final; Eric Djemba-Djemba was a Cameroon international; Cristiano Ronaldo had been playing in Portugal's top league with Sporting Lisbon, and David Bellion had been in the Premiership with Sunderland.

'Tim didn't have any of that experience, so there was bound to be a question mark over him.

'But Tony Coton was insistent and said `Once you see him there will be no questions'. That was a big statement, but he was right.

'Maybe Tim was slightly fortunate that he played his first game in New York against Juventus, because it is his home state.

'He was fantastic that night. That is when I thought `We have a signing here'.

'After that I decided to play him in the Community Shield against Arsenal to see how his temperament stood up to play in a biggish game in front of a big crowd.

'He was probably a bit disappointed with the goal he conceded - but other than that he did well again. Now we are seeing someone who is improving all the time