John Heitinga

John Gijsbert Alan "Johnny" Heitinga born 15 November 1983 in Alphen aan den Rijn) is a Dutch footballer who plays as a defender for Everton and the Dutch national team. A product of Jong Ajax, he previously played for AFC Ajax and Atlético Madrid, before signing for Everton in 2009.

Heitinga previously represented various youth squads for the Netherlands. He is now a regular player for the Dutch national team, having made his debut in February 2004. He has represented his country at two World Cups (2006 and 2010) and two European Championships (2004 and 2008). In 2008, Heitinga was named Dutch Footballer of the Year.

Club careerEdit

[1][2]Heitinga (right, with Urby Emanuelson, Wesley Sneijder, Maarten Stekelenburg, and Zdeněk Grygera) played for Ajax from 1990–2008.===Ajax=== Heitinga was part of the Ajax youth team before making his debut for the first team on 26 August 2001 against Feyenoord. He was part a new wave of talent that fielded the likes of homegrown stars Rafael van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder as well as Zlatan Ibrahimović and Cristian Chivu. He was featured in a documentary entitled Ajax: Hark the Herald Angel Sings alongside Ajax academy pupils Gregory van der Wiel, Mitchell Donald, Jeffrey Sarpong, Donovan Slijngard, Nordin Amrabat, Evander Sno and Jeremain Lens.

Heitinga quickly established himself as a strong addition to the team and became first-choice player under coach Co Adriaanse and later Ronald Koeman until he suffered a serious knee injury which kept him on the sidelines for over six months. His comeback was short-lived, as he played only one game before suffering yet another injury which again sentenced him to a long period of recovery.

He made his second comeback at the start of the 2003–04 season and impressed in his first game since injury against FC Volendam from where he went on to become a first choice central defender for the remainder of the season as well as a popular figure amongst the fans. When it was announced that he would be leaving Ajax at the end of the 2007–08 season, the fans gave him a fitting send-off by displaying a mosaic of him on the stands. [3][4]Heitinga with Michael Owen.===Atlético Madrid===

He moved to Atlético Madrid at the end of the 2007–08 season for a fee of £8.8 million.[2] His first season in Spain ended with Heitinga making 32 appearances (27 in the league), and scoring 3 goals for Atlético.


In September 2009, aged 25, Heitinga joined English club Everton on a five-year contract for a fee of around €7.04million (£6.2million).[3][4][5] He was given squad number 5, though he was not be eligible to represent Everton in the Europa League having already played for Atletico Madrid in the qualifying stage of the Champions League. Heitinga made his debut for Everton on 13 September against Fulham after coming on for an injured Phil Neville.[6] In his first season for the club, Heitinga made 35 appearances in all competitions.[7]

In the 2010–11 FA Cup Everton held holders Chelsea 1–1 in a replay at Stamford Bridge, sending the tie to penalties. Heitinga took Everton's fourth and scored. As he walked back to his team-mates he purposefully barged into the oncoming Ashley Cole, who was next to take Chelsea's penalty, disrupting Cole's concentration and causing him to miss his spot kick. Phil Neville went on to score the winning penalty for Everton. Later that season Heitinga scored his first goal for the club in a 1–1 draw at home to Birmingham City.[8] After a successful season in which he won many plaudits for his performances at the centre of defence, Heitinga was voted Everton's Player of the Season for 2011–12 by the club's supporters. After collecting the award, Heitinga referred to Everton as his "family".[9] He then scored against Newcastle on the final day of the season with an unmarked header which put Everton 3–0, his second Premier League goal and his first in over 14 months.[9][10]

International careerEdit

[6][7]Heitinga playing for the NetherlandsHaving been part of Dutch international youth teams, Heitinga made his senior debut for the Netherlands on 18 February 2004 in a friendly game against the United States and made an immediate impact. Several months later, he scored his first goal from a van der Vaart free kick in a friendly against Greece.

Euro 2004Edit

Although he did not take part in qualifying, he was later included in the squad for the Euro 2004 in Portugal since the U-21s had failed to qualify for the European Championships. He started as first choice right back in the first two group stage matches but was suspended for the last match when he was sent-off for two bookable offences. After serving his suspension, he returned in the quarterfinal against Sweden as a second half substitute for Edgar Davids and converted his penalty as the Dutch won 5–4 on penalties. However, the Dutch were eliminated by the hosts, Portugal in the semifinal.

2006 World CupEdit

Heitinga's development as a player suffered two dips in form in the 2004–05 and the 2005–06 seasons respectively. Despite club struggles, Heitinga never lost his spot in the national team under Marco van Basten, who took over as Dutch national coach in the summer of 2004. By the end of 2005, had also once again become a key player in the Ajax squad. He would also be selected by Van Basten for the Dutch team of 23 players to compete in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, hosted by Germany. The Dutch side performed reasonably well at the World Cup, qualifying for the second round before being knocked out by Portugal. [8][9]Heitinga (right) and Wesley Sneijder have been close friends since boyhood.===Euro 2008===

He was also called up to the Dutch squad for Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland. Since the Euro 2008, he has been a regular in the right back position and has occasionally deputised in other defensive positions during an injury crisis. He made his 50th appearance for the Netherlands in a friendly against Paraguay on 18 November 2009.[11]

2010 World CupEdit

[11][12]John Heitinga (left) with Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Khalid Boulahrouz, and Phillip Cocu in 2010.Heitinga was included in the squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa,[12] and was in the starting line-up for the Netherlands' first match in the competition, a 2–0 victory over Denmark.[13] Heitinga played in every game as the Netherlands reached the World Cup Final for the third time, where they face Spain. He started the match, but was sent off in the 109th minute after being given his second yellow card for a foul on Andrés Iniesta. He became the fifth player to be sent off in a World Cup final.[14][nb 1] The Netherlands went on to lose the final 1–0.[14]

International goalsEdit

John Heitinga: International goals[15]
Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 28 April 2004 Philips Stadion, Eindhoven, Netherlands  Greece 3–0 4–0 Friendly match
2 1 June 2006 Philips Stadion, Eindhoven, Netherlands  Mexico 1–1 2–1 Friendly match
3 6 June 2007 Rajamangala Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand  Thailand 0–2 1–3 Friendly match
4 6 February 2008 Poljud Stadium, Split, Croatia  Croatia 0–1 0–3 Friendly match
5 26 March 2008 Ernst Happel Stadion, Vienna, Austria  Austria 3–2 3–4 Friendly match
6 10 September 2008 Skopje City Stadium, Skopje, Macedonia  Macedonia 0–1 1–2 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification
7 2 September 2011 Philips Stadion, Eindhoven, Netherlands  San Marino 3–0 11–0 Euro 2012 qualification

Career statisticsEdit


Club Season League Cup League Cup Europe Other[nb 2] Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Ajax 2001–02 15 0 1 0 3 0 19 0
2002–03 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
2003–04 26 3 1 0 3 0 30 3
2004–05 26 1 3 0 6 0 1 0 36 1
2005–06 19 1 3 0 6 0 5 1 33 2
2006–07 32 6 5 1 9 1 5 1 51 9
2007–08 33 6 3 2 4 0 5 1 45 9
Total 152 17 16 3 31 1 16 3 215 24
Atlético Madrid 2008–09 27 3 1 0 6 0 34 3
2009–10 1 0 0 0 2 0 3 0
Total 28 3 1 0 8 0 37 3
Everton 2009–10 31 0 2 0 2 0 35 0
2010–11 27 1 3 0 1 0 31 1
2011–12 30 1 6 1 3 0 39 2
2012–13 15 0 0 0 2 0 17 0
Total 103 2 11 1 8 0 122 3
Career total 283 22 28 4 8 0 39 1 16 3 374 30

Statistics accurate as of match played 2 January 2013.[16]


Netherlands national team
Year Apps Goals
2004 12 1
2005 4 0
2006 8 1
2007 7 1
2008 12 3
2009 7 0
2010 15 0
2011 9 1
2012 11 0
Total 85 7

Statistics accurate as of match played 9 April 2012[17]


[13][14]Heitinga (left) with Jeffrey Bruma===Club===

  • Player of the Season 2011–12