By Alex Labidou
Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard has hailed Landon Donovan as one of the greatest footballers in the history of the USA amid speculation he is set to retire from the sport.
Donovan’s LA Galaxy take on Houston Dynamo in the MLS Cup final on Sunday, and much of the attention will be on David Beckham as he makes his final appearance for the club.
But for Donovan too the match could constitute a farewell, and Howard insists that, if it does, his legacy will bear comparison with any of the country’s footballing greats.
"The thing we have to realize when we look at Landon is not only has he exceeded expectations, he's crushed them," Howard told Goal.com.
"I think his legacy will be talked about as one of the best and rightfully so. He'll go down in history as not only a legend but one of our top two players [in U.S. history].
"He's been doing it on a high level since he was 17 or 18 years old. A lot of us weren't doing what he was doing until we were 25.
“Our experience is going to be different than a guy who started at 18. We'll probably look at things at 35 or 36 and be like we've had enough of this. Maybe he's at that stage now."
Howard has played alongside Donovan in the USA national side for many years, but also enjoyed his company during the LA Galaxy man’s two loan spells with Everton.
And Howard insists it was the time spent at Goodison Park which did most to convince him of Donovan’s rare quality.
"I think the Everton experience stands out because he had such a big impact during his time here especially against big teams,” he added.
"His wherewithal and ability to read the game in the big moments was critical."