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David Moyes: Johnny Heitinga can give Everton FC something different
Published : 06 Mar 2010 07:00:00
WITH Everton trailing Tottenham by two goals at half-time last weekend, David Moyes shuffled his pack. Off came the previous week's man-of-the-match, Leon Osman, replaced by Phil Jagielka, with Johnny Heitinga pushing up into midfield. It was one of those substitutions that leaves you scratching your head, puzzled at how it will make a difference. As it happened, it was a switch that helped change the dynamics of a match that went from lost cause to fighting chance for Everton. As Heitinga provided the presence and poise that had previously been lacking, Everton got a foothold in the game and were unlucky not to come away with at least a point. The Dutchman has been feted for his performances at the heart of the defence this season but reminded those at White Hart Lane that he has plenty more in his locker. 'He's done really well at centre-half for us this season,' said Moyes. 'But Johnny helped us last week when he went into midfield. 'We were needing something different, which we might do from now on with losing Fellaini. 'With Fellaini and Cahill out we missed that little bit of strength against Spurs. 'We didn't need it in the Man United game. Folk might have thought we'd have needed it there, but we didn't. In the end, we needed it at Tottenham.' Heitinga was back in central defence for Holland's 2-1 win over the USA in midweek, displaying a versatility that harks back to his schooling at the world renowned Ajax academy. 'He has that ability to adapt,' continues Moyes. 'He can do a couple of jobs and do them well. 'He's given us that steadying influence. He's gone quietly about his job and done very well. 'He came in at a difficult time for us. 'When he joined I thought the best way would be to settle him in midfield, to introduce him to the Premier League from there. 'He had a couple of games there but then had to move back because of injuries to other players. 'He just settled there nicely. It's one of those decisions now where we might use him as a holding midfielder in some games while in others we can play him at centre-back.'