By Will Butcher

Tim Howard has revealed his decision to leave his “home”earlier this summer caused the American great sadness.

The Toffees’ former number one decided to end his stay on Merseyside by moving back to his home country of America with Major League Soccer outfit Colorado Rapids.

Speaking to Goal’s US website, Howard revealed that the people of Everton were his “family” and Goodison Park is where “he felt safe.”

“Leaving Everton was like leaving home to me,” Howard told Goal USA. “That’s where I felt safe. Those are the people who I trusted, the people who I loved. That becomes your family and your life and who you are.

“So it’s always going to be tough to leave. I miss some of my teammates dearly. I speak to them all the time, wishing we still had some of those good old days, but all great things come to an end.”

The former Manchester United shot stopper joined the Toffees in 2007 for around £3million, and went on to make an astounding 413 league and cup appearances for the club.

Howard holds the title as Everton’s 13th highest appearance maker, after recording a huge 134 clean sheets.

Howard is also a member of an elite club of just five goalkeepers that have scored a Premier League goal, after scoring a wind-assisted effort against Bolton in 2012. He joins the likes of Asmir Begovic, Paul Robinson, Brad Friedel and Peter Schmeichel.

Since his move, Howard has made seven clean sheets in just 16 games for Colorado Rapids.

In other Everton news, Paul Merson has predicted a five-goal thriller between the Toffees and Manchester City.