Skip to Main Content
Members:   Log In Sign Up
The Mail Bag

The John Heitinga Issue

Comments (34)

Is Johny Heitinga any good? I have heard many arguments how he isn?t a good player and he's nothing better than a thug running round on the pitch, to he's he is a good player but he is just tired and he needs time to gel into the team.

My view on it is that he is a very good player and we do see glimpses of it. We do see the few world class passes across the park. He is a very good battler, we've seen that last season; he will fight for the cause, but this season he is making us look like a team of thugs. His actions have been stupid and he's lost his cool a few times but last year he was up there for Player of the Season.

One of the reasons he might not be playing well is because he is not a defensive midfielder, he is a centre-half. He played there for Athletico Madrid and Ajax. Where did he play in the World Cup? At centre-half. Holland had a solid defence the whole tournament with Heitinga at the heart of it.

Moyes has made a habit of playing people out of position; sometimes it has paid off, like Pienaar was never a left winger but he has come good... even putting Lescott at left back. But there are players where it has gone wrong.

Bilyaletdinov is NOT a left winger and I am sick of people slating him off for not being able to come to a different club, a different style of play, a different speed of league. People will say he should be able to adapt because we spent so much on him. We spent the money on him, but did not give it to him, he did not value himself. Lokomotiv Moscow asked for the £10 million ? not him.

But back on topic: Heitinga is a good centre-half and a very average midfielder. In the summer, people were saying drop Distin and play Jagielka and Heitinga, but after the first few months of the season Distin has been a rock at the back, solid and dependable, he has bailed us out on a few occasions.

Last season, we had a solid back four, with Distin and Heitinga and Fellaini or Rodwell holding. That gave Baines and Neville the chance to move forward. Jagielka?s form hasn?t been the greatest this season and we haven?t been solid at the back this year and a change could do us good.
Jake Wilson, l22     Posted 20/11/2010 at 11:28:50

back Return to the Mail Bag


Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer

Mike Allison
1   Posted 20/11/2010 at 17:21:45

Report abuse

I think he's a good centre back, who can play at right back, and shouldn't be in midfield.

I'm also coming round to the idea that he's a bit of a knob. I think he's unhappy at Everton, wants to leave, and that's showing in some of his stupidity on the pitch. I think he 'left Atletico Madrid' rather than 'joined us' if you know what I mean, and he's looking to go somewhere else where he'll play centre back in the Champions League (probably Germany).

In his defence, they do keep mentioning this niggling calf injury he's had, and he is genuinely being played out of position. I actually think Distin is the shaky one at the back, he can look imperious but he's the one who's got a rick in him at any given time, and I stick to what I said in the summer, that Jagielka and Heitinga should be our centre backs.
Nelaj Behajiha
2   Posted 20/11/2010 at 17:27:47

Report abuse

He was great at centre back, end of. It's Moyes's fault, not his.
David Thomas
3   Posted 20/11/2010 at 17:32:07

Report abuse

I am fairly certain that only Chelsea and Man City have conceded fewer league goals than us this season. That would suggest to me that there is not much wrong with our defence and there is no reason to change the back four at this present time.
Steve Guy
4   Posted 20/11/2010 at 17:45:22

Report abuse

He's leaving in January so I've stopped caring about wehther he's good or otherwise. I've not been impressed with him on the field all season and even more unimpressed with his off field comments; where he seems to want to link himself to all and sundry instead of concentrating on playing well for the Club that's paying his excessive wages
Ray Robinson
5   Posted 20/11/2010 at 18:25:55

Report abuse

I don't think he's worth a place, either in midfield or at the back. However, HE does and that's maybe the problem - a case of his thinking he deserves better.
James Cadwaladr
6   Posted 20/11/2010 at 19:23:36

Report abuse

Ray - I dont think you are far of the mark there. I dont think Moyes will sell him in January as Mustafi and Duffy arent ready yet and we cant get Yobo (who should never have gone on loan and is in my view a mistake by Moyes caused by his own stubborness) back untill next season.

I do think though that he is probably the person we should get rid off, not that he jis surplas to requirements, more beacuase his transfer value will allow us to strenghten other areas that need more. I would say his worth is probably £7 - £8m.
John Daley
7   Posted 20/11/2010 at 19:04:38

Report abuse

Erm, he's decidedly average? He clearly has an inflated opinion of his own abilities and seems to believe that he should be competing at a higher level for a 'big' club. He probably saw his move to Everton as a stop gap and presumed he would be a star man rather than a mere squad player, which is all he is at the moment and all he deserves to be for the forseeable future.

He's obviously extremely open to the idea of a move (as he keeps flashing his tits at any club passing by), and Moyes seems to be hinting that something may happen, so I believe he may be gone in January. To my mind it will be no big loss.

However, I do find his desperate attempts to portray himself as some sort of hard man increasingly amusing? He may like to run about the pitch thinking he's Chuck Norris in Delta Force 2 but, in reality, he's more like fucking Norris from Coronation Street.
James Stewart
8   Posted 20/11/2010 at 19:52:25

Report abuse

He's the best Centre back at the club. I don't suspect he will be for much longer though. Can't blame him if he moves on. He is on another level to Distin and Jagielka in terms of ability with a football. Great passer and Marshall at centre back just ashame Moyes sees him as a midfielder.
Franny Porter
9   Posted 20/11/2010 at 19:52:27

Report abuse

I rate him as a centre back, but not as a midfielder. However, Im getting increasingly fed up with his rumblings, if the prick wants out, let him go, but get someone in to replace him with the money.

My fear, after seeing DM's comments today whre he said soemthing along the lines of "Ive not heard of any interest in him, but if Everton decide to cash in". The fact he uses the word Everton, instead of we, makes me thing JH may be getting flogged by the club to balance the books. If this is the case, I can see DM jumping ship. Where would this leave us? Im as bored with our dour football as the next man, but at least DM can work with the constraints that the club imposes with money and transfers etc. If he goes, and we have no kitty to offer an incoming manager, we will end up with some cunt like Phil fucking Brown or Gordon cunting Strachan.

Conspiracy theories, dontcha love em!
Nathan Ward
10   Posted 20/11/2010 at 19:57:42

Report abuse

I would agree with #8 - very good centre half although prone to odd daft tackles.

However would also say that he has a very high sense of self importance and is typically Dutch.

As for the comments most of those are taken well out of context (thanks to Eric for the translations) and shouldn't be used against him.

For my money, would have him and Distin at centre half on Monday. Jags hasn't been upto for several games and major mistake last week and a mugging for England this aint going to do his confidence any good
Ian Bennett
11   Posted 20/11/2010 at 19:58:08

Report abuse

If we can get near £9-10M (which I think we can get), I'll drive him myself.

He is not as good as he thinks he is and obviously has a problem he can't oust Jags at the back (hence the trap).

Our team is too predictable at the moment and why we are suffering ? the team needs pace in a number of positions and so I would cash in.
James Stewart
12   Posted 20/11/2010 at 19:52:25

Report abuse

He's the best Centre back at the club. I don't suspect he will be for much longer though. Can't blame him if he moves on. He is on another level to Distin and Jagielka in terms of ability with a football. Great passer and Marshall at centre back just ashame Moyes sees him as a midfielder.
Franny Porter
13   Posted 20/11/2010 at 21:10:22

Report abuse

Nathan (10), you say most of his comments are taken out of context, well he's really unlucky that its happening again and again isn't he?
Nathan Ward
14   Posted 20/11/2010 at 21:15:39

Report abuse

Franny - as I said he is typical Dutch and not really known for subtly & loyalty though! The comments about Barcelona were not much more than a joke and the Bayern ones were after being forced into an alley by the journo.

After the Fat Kid I've grown used to all players being mercenaries and them only wanting the next payday. I don't care what they say or think, so long as they play well for the blues
Franny Porter
15   Posted 20/11/2010 at 21:33:30

Report abuse

Nathan, I hear what you say about mercenaries, it was Barmby that done it for me.
Martin Faulkner
16   Posted 20/11/2010 at 22:10:41

Report abuse

Should be playing CB ahead of Jags who has a really annoying habbit of hoofing it 60 yards cross field to the ball boy.
Eugene Ruane
17   Posted 20/11/2010 at 22:16:48

Report abuse

Nathan - agree completely.
Charles King
18   Posted 20/11/2010 at 22:24:43

Report abuse

Did'nt rate him at first but changed my opinion when he played at centre back.
I get the impression he does'nt suffer fools gladly, which could be a problem at Everton.

Lee Kidd
19   Posted 20/11/2010 at 23:12:49

Report abuse

He's a top player, but unfortunately for him he's one of those players fans love to hate because he does a very underrated job.

As a centre-half he's solid, and as a defensive midfielder he keeps his man quiet. He doesn't do anything spectacular.

He was absolutely superb last year for us at centre-half, which everyone forgets for some reason, and he's done well this year - he well and truly shut down Blackpool's dangerman Charlie Adam when he played in defensive midfield; indeed, we almost lost the game when he went off.

People are just annoyed that we have a Dutch international but he doesn't do the same job in a side as Cruyff did.
Gerry Western
20   Posted 21/11/2010 at 00:06:03

Report abuse

By his own admission he's on record as saying he doesn't know what his best position is. He considers himself equally good in both positions. So the argument that he's a quality central defender being played out of position simply doesn't hold water. I think he's also played right back on occasions. He's perhaps best described as a jack of all trades but master of none.

Although I do think he's a good player, I've never been sure what position Moyes had in mind when he bought him. Moyes does prefer players who can play in a variety of positions. For me, there have been too many press reports linking him with other clubs and perhaps it is time he moved on.

Eugene Ruane
21   Posted 21/11/2010 at 00:12:29

Report abuse

Lee that last line made me laugh but I agree absolutely.

I think Sky and the PL have bred a new type of fan - those impressed ONLY by the glitter of an over-head kick or a bendy free kick.

Problem is with your unflash player, it often takes a few seasons to realise what a good job they're doing.

Cars was a good example, sat in front of the back four, won the ball, gave it to someone who can play. Job done.

Never going to get him analysed by 'Lawro' and not paricularly exciting to watch but absolutely essential and when he felt settled there. I actually felt more relaxed at games.

In fact in the 'Cars derby', during the last half hour (when normally I'd be sweating cobbs) I was the most relaxed I EVER was in a derby.

I just thought they're absolutely not getting past him today.
Peter Warren
22   Posted 21/11/2010 at 00:37:23

Report abuse

Lacks pace to be top draw but can play football... and Evertonians like people who can play, especially if they seem hard. Unfortunately, he's proved a knob this year and hence, many fans feel foolish but still a good player who will be gone by the summer, if not sooner.
Paul Olsen
23   Posted 21/11/2010 at 04:53:34

Report abuse

Is Johny Heitinga any good? ? Yes.

Is Johnny fantastic? ? No.

Is Johnny one of our two best centre-backs? ? Possibly our second best.

Is Johnny one of our best defensive midfielders? ? Hardly, but he can put a shift in the odd game (he was decent against Blackpool).

Is he worth having at Everton? ? Clearly... but as one of the club's top earners, maybe not. As a disgruntled sub, definetely not.

Has he received unfair stick? ? Yes.

Is he a mindless thug? ? Well, he's a thug no doubt. But, then so is Tim Cahill. And he is OUR thug.
Paul Rimmer
24   Posted 21/11/2010 at 08:48:39

Report abuse

He's a good player and one I would prefer us to keep. However, based on the world cup he knows he can get higher wages at a bigger club and Everton know they could get a decent fee. He wants away so it's likely to happen. The only thing is we would have to buy another centre half and in January that might be difficult.
Lee Kidd
25   Posted 21/11/2010 at 10:56:36

Report abuse

Eugene (20)

I did the same thing a few years back as a kid with Mark Pembridge. True, he really wasn't that good, but he played an important role in the side that went thoroughly unnoticed. The fans got on his back when he refused to shoot from 20 yards, without realising he's not supposed to shoot from 20 yards!

Let's put it this way, I'd rather have a Jonny Heitinga in a midfield five than five Mikel Arteta-style players. It's called "recycling possession" and Heitinga is actually very good at it.

A challenge for the young ones - next time you watch a game of football, keep an eye on what the defensive midfielder does during the game instead of waiting for a Pienaar stepover to jizz over ;)
Steve O'Malley
26   Posted 21/11/2010 at 10:51:16

Report abuse

James #8. You are100% correct, Heitinga is the best CB at the Club. Good enough to play in the team to play in the last World Cup Final but not good enough for EFC. It's a joke.

Hetinga's omission has to be yet another example of something that has nothing to do with footballing ability but more to do with Politics. Distin has played really well in the past few games, the same cannot be said about Jagielka. It's symptomatic of the state of the England side that Jags can get a start because his form certainly does not warrant it. If he tries another of those "Beckham" like 60-yard passes that rarely if ever reach their target (unlike Beckham) I will smash the TV to bits.

I think that ANY player that is good enough to play for a top world side but cannot force his way into an average Everton side would be frustrated and want to move on, I would be the same myself. I for one would be sad to lose a player of Hetinga's quality

Norman Merrill
27   Posted 21/11/2010 at 11:11:42

Report abuse

My thoughts on the player are that you don't play in a World Cup from start to final and be a bad player.

I am not blaming Moyes for playing him in midfield because he must have thought he would do a good job there, and Davey has a habit of playing players out of their comfort zone, a good example was the Jagielka situation, even Phil has commented on it, played in those positions for Sheff Utd as well.

If it's true that John wants away, then hopefully try and bring a player in exchange for him, as we cannot buy.

Anthony Hawkins
28   Posted 21/11/2010 at 11:47:26

Report abuse

Personally, I rate Heitinga as one of our best two defenders. Jagielka and Heitinga together could form an immense partnership and create a stunning defensive pairing.

Trouble is, Distin wears his heart on his sleave and Moyes likes that. He's big and willing to put in solid crunching tackles where Heitinga may not. Heitinga however has what I call a certain "Ferdinand" attribute. Rio Ferdinand has/had the ability to be in the right position so he often didn't HAVE to make gung ho challenges or even HAVE to make a tackle. He was there to cut the ball out before the other player got there. That's an attribute Heitinga has.

Distin is left footed. This is seen by Moyes and many other managers as being a big plus. Whilst it may help, I don't think it's critical.

Personally, I'd prefer to see Jagielka and Heitinga have a good stint together and see how they get on.

Potentially the biggest positive for the Distin & Jagielka partnership is that the current defensive unit is operating exceptionally well and there is often no reason to tinker with something that is not broken, even if it does mean something better.
Stephen Kenny
29   Posted 21/11/2010 at 12:39:03

Report abuse


I dont know what you mean by young ones but I can assure that most young lad's at the match(I'm26) have played football all our lives. I personally and I can say this of my mates, understand fully what each players role in the team involves and can appreciate when a player carries it out fully, as per Eugene's Carsley analogy.

Most genuine football people know what to look for in each postion and I would say this more so of Everton fans as we dont seem to have attracted many SKY fans who havent got much of a clue.
Andy Burke
30   Posted 21/11/2010 at 13:10:41

Report abuse

I gave up on the article after 'We do see the few world class passes across the park'

He is shite. End of story.

Johnny Who? Doesn't deserve to play for a cub like ours and the fact he lauded as some kind of hero in some quarters really gets my goat.
Ciarán McGlone
31   Posted 21/11/2010 at 14:02:55

Report abuse

I'd like to think we'd advanced beyond the 'Carsley' type player stage...

I've never wanted him in midfield - as having that type of one dimensional player ultimately detracts from the type of game the team plays....It is possible to have players who do the Carsley job, yet actually have a bit more to their game..

I also think he's a thug - therefore like Pienaar, I wouldn't cry if he actually got on his boke with a flag - but it'll certainly not be to Barcelona.
Oliver Molloy
32   Posted 21/11/2010 at 14:46:37

Report abuse

He got married in the summer after the World Cup and there lies I suspect part of the problem for him, ranting about other clubs, his Mrs doesn't like it over here, bet she likes the money though.

He is without doubt a centre back, that is his best position, but he is not going to get in there carrying on like he does, constantly stating the fact he would move in the morning to the right club in all these off-field interviews.

He's a bit of a bottler also, and i for one won't forget his pathetic attempt to win the ball against Wolves early on this season. He lost us 2 points that day and he alone.

I wonder what he will do if has a 50/50 with his brother-in-law on Monday night, that ex-Red Zendon... Are you up for it, Johnny? ? That's if you're picked, of course!

Eugene Ruane
33   Posted 21/11/2010 at 17:44:33

Report abuse

Franny Porter, if you want to call it 'patronizing' fine, but why not (as Stephen Kenny did) add a bit more.

I appreciate on posts like this (ie: opinion) my view is not 'right', it's just my view, based on what I see and hear from younger Evertonians. It's actually an area where I'd be delighted for loads of (young) blues to say 'you're dead fucking wrong and here's why'. (It'd actually give me a bit of hope.)

By the way, if you read the piece, it wasn't a dig at Evertonians. I might have had a dig at Sky fans but believe me, they DO exist and they do (imo) know fuck all about what makes a successful team.

Mike Allison
34   Posted 21/11/2010 at 20:19:52

Report abuse

I agree with Anthony (27) about Heitinga as a centre back, it's something lots of people don't really pick up on (and it can leave you felling unappreciated...).

If you see a defender making spectacular blocks or tackles, he's probably not as good as the one who seems to just trot around and never needs to do anything. That's because the second guy is making it look easy by preventing danger at an earlier stage.

I also certainly don't think what-footed a centre-back is matters in the slightest, just looking at any of the successful combinations at any level over any period in history tells you that.

I also agree with Ciaran that we should hope to be beyond the Carsley-type player, and in Fellaini, when fit, not suspended, and played in the right position, we have a player for the same role/position but several levels of quality above. Heitinga doesn't match up to that (although Rodwell might).

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment to the MailBag, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and MailBag submissions across the site.

© ToffeeWeb
Subscribe to The Athletic, Get 40% off

Bet on Everton and get a deposit bonus with bet365 at


We use cookies to enhance your experience on ToffeeWeb and to enable certain features. By using the website you are consenting to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.