Howard: Singapore trip ideal

The Toffees have signed Tom Cleverley and Gerard Deulofeu in the off-season so far and will take on Barclays Premier League opposition in Stoke City and possibly Arsenal, or a Singapore Select XI in a pre-season tournament – the Barclays Asia Trophy.

Speaking to the Premier League's official website, Howard said the quality of the opposition they are going to come up against in Singapore means they will be well-prepared for next season.

"Like anything else it is like a sparring match," the Toffee stopper said. 

“The better sparring partner you can have the better you will be prepared and that will help us. If you get those two/three matches under our belt, soon after that the Premier League starts early this year so we can feel like we are weathered and seasoned a bit.

"It will be good for us to play in a major pre-season tournament because it gives a feel of the Premier League as opposed to pre-season games that have a lull and don't always live up to the expectation.

"As a player you train hard in the pre-season," said Howard, who has been first-choice goalkeeper at Goodison Park since moving to Everton from Manchester United in 2006.

"You do lots of running and exercises. So it's good to get your reward and get out to a big stadium and have that feel."

The 36-year-old American also thinks the heat in Singapore will help the Merseysiders to get into peak fitness.

"The weather is better and warmer and when we get put through our paces from a conditioning standpoint we will be better off," he said.

"I am not one of these guys chomping at the bit to get back. I enjoy it. I used to stay in the hotel but as I have gotten older I like to experience the culture and try new foods and whatever activities you can do local to that country."