Martinez: Heitinga could leave Everton in January

The Dutchman's only two games this season have come in the Capital One Cup, with a defensive partnership of Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin preferred by the manager

Roberto Martinez has hinted that defender John Heitinga could be on his way out of Everton in January.

The Netherlands international has struggled for game time since Martinez was appointed in the summer, having only featured in the Capital One Cup this season.

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The former Wigan manager has preferred a defensive partnership of Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin, which has led to Heitinga’s future at the club coming into question.

"Johnny has been an incredible professional since day one," Martinez told reporters. "He has been a big influence in the way we wanted to work.

"Johnny is a top footballer and we can understand if he doesn't play many minutes we will try to see if we can help him in January.

"But ideally I would like Johnny to start playing and have a big role on the pitch as much as he has off it.

"Sometimes the fans don't see that side. I really admire and value that.

"We all want Johnny to play and participate on the pitch but that is something we will have to assess over the next few weeks."