33 Joel Robles

esp Spain
June 17, 1990

Spanish goalkeeper Joel Robles joined Everton in July 2013 after signing from Atletico Madrid on a five-year deal.

The 6ft 5in shot-stopper made the permanent switch to England after enjoying a short loan spell with Wigan Athletic during their FA Cup winning season of 2012/13.

Robles’ first two years at Goodison Park primarily involved appearances in the domestic cup competitions and it took until the second half of the 2015/16 campaign for the Madrid-born man to establish himself as the Club’s first-choice goalkeeper.

When Tim Howard suffered an injury in February 2015, Robles stepped in and kept his place for the remainder of the season, playing all but the final two home matches.

He also guarded the goal in Everton’s run through to both the Capital One Cup and FA Cup semi-finals.

Robles featured a total of 24 times during 2015/16 season – more than he had put together in the two previous seasons.

Having first moved to English football on loan with Wigan in January 2013, he played a starring role in the Latics’ FA Cup success that season, no more so than in the final where he kept a clean sheet in their surprise victory against Manchester City.

That appearance at Wembley was one of 13 he made during his five-month stay with Wigan as, after breaking into the team, his impressive performances kept the much more experienced Ali Al-Habsi out of the team.

Robles started out at Getafe’s academy before joining the youth setup at Atletico Madrid in 2005.

He made his senior debut in May 2010 against Sporting Gijon after spending virtually all of his first season as a professional with their ‘B’ side in Segunda Division B – the third tier of Spanish football.

After David De Gea joined Manchester United in the summer of 2011, Joel was promoted to Atletico’s first choice stopper for a short period. He played just three matches, however, before Belgium international Thibaut Courtois was recruited from Chelsea.

With opportunities limited, Joel joined La Liga outfit Rayo Vallecano on loan for the second half of the 2011/12 season before his similar-length stay with Wigan 12 months later.

A youth international, Joel has represented Spain at Under-16, Under-17 and, most recently, Under-21 level.

He was part of the Spain squad that triumphed at the 2013 Under-21 Championships, although he did not feature in any of their five matches at the tournament in Israel.

He deputised for Tim Howard in 2013/14 and 2014/15, making eight and 10 appearances respectively across the Premier League, FA Cup, Capital One Cup and Europa League.

It was a similar story in the first half of the 2015/16 season, until the Spaniard overtook Howard as first-choice and made 13 Premier League outings between February and May.

World Cup finalist Maarten Stekelenburg became Ronald Koeman’s second signing since joining Everton in the summer of 2016 – and the Dutch custodian began the season as first-choice ahead of Joel.

But after suffering a dead leg in the Merseyside derby, Joel retained his starting berth and started the next 17 games.

He became the 50th goalkeeper in Premier League history to provide an assist when he set up Kevin Mirallas in a 2-0 away win over Leicester City on Boxing Day in 2016.