FORMER Ryder Cup star David Howell has backed his friend Stephen Gallacher to continue his good form into the bi-annual showdown, after the Scot was announced on Tuesday as one of Europe captain Paul McGinley’s picks.

It was Howell who prevented Gallacher from taking the last automatic place in Europe’s Ryder Cup team, with his stunning final round at last week’s Italian Open. Howell shot a 63 to pip his good friend for the second place in Torino that would have guaranteed the Scot his Ryder Cup debut.

However Gallacher showed enough to McGinley to pencil in his name post-Italy. That created a three-into-two conundrum between Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald for the Europe skipper’s final couple of selections.

Ultimately the Northern Irishman went for the Ryder Cup prowess of Poulter and Westwood, a decision that Howell, who will feature on the TV coverage at Gleneagles, was not surprised by.

“I’m absolutely delighted for Stephen as our carers have been much aligned,” Howell told the Advertiser.

“It’s taken him 19 years to make the Ryder Cup, and he’s really going to enjoy playing it at home, as he only lives a few miles away from Gleneagles.

“It’s going to be a fantastic team and I think they’ll have a strong chance of retaining the trophy.

“The great thing about Stephen is he’s in good form and consistent good form. He knows he been playing well for a long time, he won’t doubt his ability. His game has been quite low maintenance in this period. He can relax his way into the build up, and when the guns go off he’ll be ready.”

On McGinley’s other choices Howell said: “It’s who I’d thought Paul would pick, those selections are on the whole what the man in the pub would pick as well,” he added.

“The likes of Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood are coming in not quite on top form, their strength of character will be important.”