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|Birthday||November 15, 1983|
Dutch international John Heitinga was Everton’s fourth signing of the summer in 2009.
The defender arrived from Atletico Madrid for an initial fee of £6m which could rise to £7m. He signed a five-year contract.
Despite being only 25 when he signed, Heitinga brought a wealth of experience with him, having played for Ajax as well as Spanish giants Atletico Madrid.
He’s also one of Hollands’s most experienced defenders, racking up nearly 50 caps and occasionally captaining his country before switching to the Toffees.
Heitinga can play at both his preferred central defensive role and at right-back, having fulfilled both positions successfully for his country.
He was at Ajax’s famous academy for most of his childhood before making his debut aged 17. Once established he was a regular for the Amsterdam side, and spent five years playing alongside Steven Pienaar before the South African left for Dortmund.
During his time in Holland, Heitinga won the league twice and the KNVB Cup – the Dutch equivalent of the FA Cup – three times.
John was voted Holland’s player of the year in 2008 and went on to join Atletico from Ajax in the summer of that year for a fee of €10m, featuring regularly for the Spaniards before moving to Merseyside.
Heitinga debuted at Fulham in September and played his first few games in midfield before reverting to the centre of defence.
Making 35 appearances in all competitions – and was cup-tied for Europe – Heitinga has become a firm fans’ favourite with his tenacious and full-blooded displays for Everton.
He suffered an ankle injury during the 2-2 draw at Aston Villa in April 2010, but returned for the final game of the season at home to Portsmouth.
In the summer of 2010 Heitinga played a crucial role in helping Holland to the World Cup final before they eventually lost 1-0 to Spain.
Heitinga played in all seven games for Bert van Marwijk’s side at the heart of the Dutch defence.
It took him a while to get going in 2010/11 but the highlight was definitely his maiden Toffees goal against Birmingham – the Dutchman sending a poweful sidefoot effort into the top corner from outside the box.