EVERTON boss David Moyes has declared that John Heitinga will not be leaving Goodison Park before the transfer window shuts – unless the Blues receive a silly money offer for the Dutch defender.
Last season was the former Ajax and Atletico Madrid man’s most consistent since he arrived in England in 2009 and he was named Everton’s Player of the Year.
However, the 29-year-old has struggled to break up the Phil Jagielka-Sylvain Distin central defensive partnership at the heart of the Blues’ backline this term.
Heitinga hasn’t started since the 2-1 win at Newcastle on January 2 and was only introduced into the action at the Reebok Stadium in the final 10 minutes when he replaced Nikica Jelavic.
His stoppage time strike, which was Heitinga’s first goal of the season, ensured Everton went through to the last 16 of the FA Cup and admits he doesn’t possess the strength in depth to allow the Dutch international to leave.
He said: “I don’t think we could let John Heitinga go because we’re too short of central defenders.
“We wouldn’t let him go unless it was something outrageous which made us do it. I think at times he’d like to play in midfield but he’s a central defender. We were short of who we could play in the middle of the pitch (at Bolton).
“Thomas Hitzlsperger had to go to the funeral of someone in his family and we were short of right-backs so we needed Phil Neville to stay there.”
Heitinga stepped into the midfield holding role previously occupied by Marouane Fellaini when the Belgian was pushed further forward in the latter stages as Everton searched for a winning goal and Moyes conceded his record signing’s display had been up and down on the day.
He said: “I thought Marouane Fellaini’s performance was mixed. I thought there were bits of good stuff but then there was poor stuff. I thought he ran aground a bit towards the end with about 20 minutes to go.
“We’re just fighting to try and find a little bit of form just now. He wasn’t at his best but he was still an influence and still had good moments.
“We dropped him back a bit deeper because we were a little bit short.
“I think Felli is better in between the midfield and forward line.
“If you said number four is the holding midfield player and there’s a number 10 role then he’s probably the number eight depending on what system you play. I think he can do both jobs.
“Against Southampton he dropped deeper in the second half and played very well.
“It’s something we’re aware he can do.”