Van der Vaart: Heitinga perfect for Hertha Berlin

The Hamburg playmaker has lauded his compatriot and would welcome him to the Bundesliga, with the former Ajax and Everton defender a free agent after being released by Fulham
John Heitinga would be a perfect fit for Hertha Berlin, according to Netherlands team-mate and Hamburg star Rafael van der Vaart.

The versatile 30-year-old defender, who was not selected for this summer's World Cup by Dutch boss Louis van Gaal, is a free agent after being released by Fulham following their relegation from the Premier League.

And former Tottenham playmaker Van der Vaart – who himself will miss this summer's showpiece in Brazil with a calf injury – is confident Heitinga would be a good fit for the Bundeliga and a valuable asset to to Hertha.

Van der Vaart told Berlin newspaper BZ: "Should Johnny join Hertha Berlin, they would be signing a top-quality defender.

"He has picked up a lot of valuable experience in the top leagues of European football.

"In addition, he is a true leader. (He) deals exceptionally well with young players in a squad."

Heitinga moved to Craven Cottage from Everton in January but was unable to halt the club's slide into the Championship, with the west London side conceding 32 goals during his 14 appearances.