The England centre-back was highly praised for his performance in the Toffees' 1-1 draw with Queens Park Rangers after Everton were forced to finish the game with 10 men following Steven Pienaar's sending-off.
"Jags was immense," the Daily Star quotes Howard as saying. "He's a leader, he's solid and he was an animal against QPR.
"He's grown and grown and looks like he will cement himself in the England team playing like that. He's been doing that for us for years. He's been a rock at Everton for a long time and we need him to have the momentum going into the derby."
David Moyes's men host their Merseyside rivals Liverpool on Sunday.