Heitinga turns down new deal and casts doubts over Everton future

The Toffees defender, who has one year left on his current deal, rejected a proposal from the club, insisting he wants assurance he'll be given more first-team opportunities
By Guus Hetterscheid

John Heitinga could be on his way out of Everton after rejecting an extension on his soon-to-expire deal with the Toffees.

The Netherlands international defender has a year remaining on his current deal and revealed he turned down a proposal to extend his Goodison Park stay because of a lack of first-team opportunities.

The 29-year-old says he won't force a move out of the club but hopes David Moyes' replacement will once again view him as an integral member of the team.

"Everton came with a proposal, but I decided not to sign," he told Goal.

"The club did not say that I have to leave this summer. I have a contract until 2014. I am 29 years old now and I want to play more often. For the moment I will come to Liverpool for the start of pre-season. That's no punishment. I have been at Everton for four years and I have experienced beautiful moments.

"We will get a new manager this summer. I don't know his vision on the game. Maybe he says: 'John must stay'. I also don't know what the chairman wants."

The former Ajax and Atletico Madrid defender dismissed reports linking him with a move to Turkish outfit Fenerbahce.

"We will wait and see. I am not aware of interest from other clubs. Also not from Fenerbahçe. We'll see. Until June 12 I am with the Dutch national team and then I will enjoy my holiday," he continued.

Only a couple of seasons ago the Dutchman was named as the fans' Player of the Year at Everton. Heitinga expressed his disappointment  at his slide down the pecking order but understands the competiveness in the Toffees squad.

He added: "[David] Moyes wanted to rotate. But it was hard to get a good rhythm. You play a match, then two not, then two games, then again one not. During my first three seasons I have, despite a few minor injuries, played almost all the matches.

"This season was rough. I had to learn to deal with various moments. At one moment you are player of the year at Everton and suddenly you are on the bench at the start of the season. The guys at my positions did well. The manager therefore saw no reason to bring me on."