Heitinga to fight for Everton place

John Heitinga is eager to stay at Everton and fight for his first-team place after being benched for the clash with Man Utd.

Last Updated: 23/08/12 at 16:58 Post Comment

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John Heitinga: Came off bench on Monday

John Heitinga: Came off bench on Monday

Everton defender John Heitinga is determined to stay at the club and fight for his first-team place.

The Holland international was on the bench for Monday's victory over Manchester United at Goodison Park and was sent on to shore things up with just a minute remaining.

There has been some speculation about the 28-year-old's future over the summer but despite seemingly being behind Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin to play at centre-back he is not looking for a way out.

"I will fight for my position and stay at Everton," said Heitinga in a question and answer session on Twitter. "Everton is a big club. A club where I feel really well."

Asked whether he would consider returning to former side Ajax he added: "I learnt in football never to say never. Ajax and Everton are my clubs. The time isn't there yet to come to Amsterdam."

Jagielka, one of the players keeping the ex-Atletico Madrid defender out of the side, believes the way the Toffees have conducted their transfer dealings has changed the atmosphere both inside and outside the club.

Having sold Jack Rodwell to Manchester City for an initial £12million and offloaded Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls) and Joseph Yobo (Fenerbahce) manager David Moyes has re-signed Steven Pienaar, also bringing in Steven Naismith and Kevin Mirallas and has not ruled out further additions before the close of the window next week.

That contrasts sharply with 12 months ago when key midfielder Mikel Arteta, Jermaine Beckford and Ayegbeni Yakubu were all sold on deadline day giving Moyes time only to complete the loan signings of Royston Drenthe and Denis Stracqualursi.

"It was a fantastic move for Mikel going to Arsenal but it was the last minute of the transfer window," said the defender.

"As far as fans were concerned they were bound to be gutted because not only have you lost a fantastic player but there was no opportunity to replace him.

"That is the difference this year: we have over a week left of the transfer window and there might be a couple of quid in for a loan or something else.

"But if not if you asked supporters how healthy they thought the squad was they are probably quite happy and the bench looked healthy against United.

"We've bought Naismith and Pienaar - that doesn't sound much but they are two good players - and we brought in Nikica Jelavic and Darron Gibson in January.

"In the last eight months that is four big signings. When you add Kevin to that we have had people coming in.

"Last season we sold Arteta, Beckford and Yakubu and there wasn't anyone coming in."

Although Moyes' squad is still not huge the Toffees boss is happy with the options he now has, particularly in midfield and up front.

Marouane Fellaini's match-winning performance against United playing just behind the striker showed the Belgium international's versatility.

"We will also use him in the middle of the pitch. We will change things," Moyes said.

"We have Mirallas and Naismith who can play in those [advanced] positions in different games.

"I said I needed variations so I could change in games and I need them to be able to stay fit and keep the squad right."

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