Heitinga: Oranje have a good mix of youth and experience

The experienced defender is pleased with the way things are going at the national team, and is determined to seal qualification for the World Cup as soon as possible
By Jesse Wieten

Everton defender John Heitinga feels Netherlands have a good mix of promising youngsters and more experienced players, as national team coach Louis van Gaal  continues to rejuvenate Oranje following their disappointing Euro 2012 campaign.

Holland have made a good start to the 2014 World Cup qualification with wins over Turkey and Hungary, and Heitinga wants to secure qualification for Brazil as soon as possible.

"We now have a good mix of youngsters and more experienced players. If you're only looking at the total number of international appearances, we have less experience than before. We'll see whether it's good enough [for qualification]," Heitinga told Goal.com.

"We have made a good start, but should not get carried away. I think we can turn this into something beautiful. We must win the upcoming qualifiers [against Andorra and Romania].

"We desperately need the full six points. We have to beat Romania as well in order to go first in the group and book our ticket for the World Cup as soon as possible. They have six points as well, so it will be a blow for them if we defeat them.

"Everybody expects us to qualify for the World Cup and that's our objective as well. We are still the favourites in our section."

The Everton man also had his say on the inclusion of Brazil-born defender Douglas in the squad for the upcoming qualifiers.

"He is a strong defender and a tall guy. He has a Dutch passport, and if the coach thinks he's ready to play for Oranje, he can feature. He has to prove his worth just like any other player."

Heitinga is no longer an undisputed starter under Louis van Gaal, but the centre-back believes the stiff competition for places only benefits the team.

"Under Van Gaal, it doesn't matter whether you've made one international appearance or 100. You simply have to perform at club level and for Oranje. That's what his decision are based on," he stated.

"The previous coach always had a core of 11 or 12 players. Things are completely different now, and that can only be a good thing. Competition for places keeps you alert. Everybody has to show what he can do. We've made a fresh start under Van Gaal after the disastrous European Championship."

Netherlands will be looking to maintain their perfect record in the 2014 World Cup qualification campaign on Friday evening when they host Andorra.