Everton FC's John Heitinga says competition for places will make him a better player

24 October 2012 07:00
John Heitinga insists fighting it out for a starting position at the heart of Everton’s defence will make him a better player – as the club confirm Ross Barkley will continue his development away from the Blues.

Dutch centre-half Heitinga hopes to earn selection for Sunday’s 219th Merseyside derby with Liverpool, a game he describes as the biggest of any season. However, the 29-year-old will have to break back into David Moyes’ team having been left out of the weekend’s draw against Queens Park Rangers, with Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin starting in the capital. Heitinga was substituted at half-time of the Blues’ previous game at Wigan Athletic, acknowledging his disappointing performance at the DW Stadium, and with Jagielka and Distin impressing at Loftus Road, the former Ajax man could be struggling to face the Reds this weekend. But the Holland international has welcomed the level of competition at Goodison Park and believes patience is the key because he will get his chance again.

“I’m not frustrated,” he said.

“We’ve got three really good centre halves and the manager spoke with all three of us and said you are all going to play a lot of games this season.

“Of course you want to play all the games, and also I can play in different positions, but my best position is centre half.

“Last year I think the manager was lucky that one of us had injury or suspension and he didn't have to choose but now the three of us, at the moment everybody is fit and the only player that played all the games is Jags."

Source: liverpool_echo