JOHN HEITINGA insists he wants to stay and fight for his place at Everton after he scored the late winner which kept the Blues’ FA Cup hopes alive.
The Dutch defender rifled home in extra time to clinch a dramatic 2-1 win for David Moyes’ men in the competition’s fourth round on Saturday, and hopes it can prove a personl turning point as he bids to revive his Toffees career.
Heitinga has struggled to break into David Moyes’ first team so far this season , and has been constanly linked with a move away from Goodison during the January transfer window, but with Moyes reluctant to lose anyone from his threadbare squad and the 29-year-old settled in the north west, he is determined to prove himself.
The Holland international, who was the club’s player of the season last term, said: “I’m working hard to get my place back in the team and I’m a fighter so I’ll never give up.
“If the manager makes another decision and doesn’t put me in the team that’s his decision, and the only thing I can do is focus on the time I do get. Hopefully I can show everybody that I’m still the same person that I was last season. The most important thing as a player is that you believe in yourself and give everything you have, then the rest follows.
“The team is performing really well this season, but as a player you need a couple of games to get back at your level. I’ve spoken to the manager – he’s happy with me and I’m happy with Everton. I’m really pleased I got the winner in front of the away fans. They were unbelievable. I think if Bolton Wanderers said you can sell all the tickets we have left the stadium would be full of Everton fans.”
The 91st minute strike was only the fourth of Heitinga’s Everton career, but he hopes there are more to follow.
“I have scored a few good goals in my career but not many for Everton unfortunately, so I was very happy with the winner. I knew it was going in as soon as I hit it,” he said. “We started well but then the game turned and Bolton were the better team. It’s not easy to play FA Cup games away from home but the important thing is we won and we don’t need a replay.
“Bolton played really well and deserve some credit. They fought and kept the ball really well but you need a bit of luck and today the luck was on our side. We worked hard to get the luck.
“You play a lot of games, especially in England and it’s good for us that we don’t have an extra game when we’re trying for Europe and trying for the cup too. If we get to the final there’s a chance we get into Europe from that.
“We’re still in the cup so hopefully we can go a better than last year.”