Heitinga not stuck on being Toffees substitute
Published 23:00 26/03/11 By Jim Hughes
Johnny Heitinga was a permanent figure in the Holland team that reached the final of the World Cup final last summer.
Now the tough defender is in danger of becoming a bit-part player with Everton, currently deployed as a regular substitute.
Heitinga insists it can’t go on much longer.
He said: “I have certainly not come here to sit on the bench. Together with Phil Neville, I have more experience than all the others. I have played in four major national team tournaments and I have played the World Cup final.
“I belong to the 22 best players in the world and I belong to the four best central defenders in the world. Ok, I won’t exaggerate now! But make it ten best central defenders in the world. That should be enough confirmation.
“Once you’ve been on the biggest stage in the world and once you’ve played in the final of the World Cup, it gives you a boost as a player. It is fantastic for your confidence.
“I don’t want to moan. At the end of the day it is all down to me. Apart from not playing sometimes, I love it here in England. I am still aiming for big success here in England. Well, I have played 65 games in the Premier League in two seasons. That is a start.
“I hope being out is a temporary thing. I will decide in the summer what I will do.”
Heitinga also revealed that Goodison Park boss David Moyes does not go around the club justifying his decisions - to anybody.
He explained: “It’s strange for me to sit on the bench at Everton. I will always claim that I am the best central defender at this club - definitely since the World Cup.
“I could understand it if the manager leaves me out of the team when I make big mistakes. But right now I can’t get over the last few weeks.
“The manager is not a big talker. Never has been. He does not explain his decisions to others either. He just says everybody will get playing time.”
Everton have been pairing Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin at centre-back. Heitinga pointed out: ”Distin and jagielka are big guys, almost half a head bigger than me.
“The manager prefers power in central defense. But I am convinced I can supply that power too. I am not 6 feet 6inches tall, but I don’t lose any headers. I proved that against many top class strikers.
“When I watch the Champions League on tv, my stomach turns. I used to hear the hymn of the Champions League as an Ajaxplayer in the stadium. Now I am lying on a couch in front of the telly here in England on such nights.’
I want to be in Europe again. I want to get there with Everton, but it is a big fight. We have a lot of competition.’’
One thing Heitinga and Moyes are agreed on is that while the Dutchman has great versatility he will not be deployed in one role any more.
Heintinga ended: “ I refuse to go and play in every position now. I don’t want to be right back again. I told the manager that.
“I’m not worried about the future. My career is still going up. I can tell that by the massive clubs who came knocking on the door for me in the winter. One of them was so serious and so concrete. But I did not want to leave in the middle of a season. And Everton did not want to let me go.
“That was a good sign. I feel I can still become an important player here for the fans and the team.”