The versatile Everton defender has overcome two long-term injuries but is now a regular in the Dutch back four, where he is expected to partner Mathijsen at centre back. Heitinga made his international senior debut in 2004 at the age of 20 and became the 99th Ajax player to play for the Oranje.
At Euro 2004 he became the first Dutchman to see red at the finals of a European Championship when he was sent off against the Czechs. He was also part of the Dutch squads at the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008 and was voted the national team’s player of the year in 2008.
A product of the Ajax academy, in his seven seasons at the Amsterdam club he won the Eredivisie title twice and the Dutch Cup three times. He moved to Atletico Madrid in 2008 for £8.8m but after a difficult season joined Everton last summer on deadline day as a £6.2m replacement for Joleon Lescott. Comfortable on the ball, as you would expect from a product of the Ajax academy.
Heitinga will marry the sister of Sunderland and former Holland winger Boudewijn Zenden in July.
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