Next Match:

Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

John Heitinga is eagerly awaiting the 'biggest game of the year'.

The Dutch defender believes Everton's hosting of local rivals Liverpool is a match of the highest possible magnitude.

Heitinga may be battling Sylvain Distin for a place in Everton's defence but he insists there is no frustration when he doesn't make the starting XI.

Heitinga told "I can’t wait till next Sunday because it’s the biggest game of the year in my eyes.

"It’s a home game as well and if you take a look at the table, you know, you can’t talk about favourites but if we win, there’s a big gap between us and Liverpool.

"I’m not talking about favourites but you know this is a game that is different to a league game because it’s a derby and the stadiums are not far from each other.

"There is just a park between the stadiums. In games like derbies there are some different emotions that are coming up into your body."

Heitinga and Distin have been taking it in turns to partner Phil Jagielka in the centre of Everton's defence and the World Cup finalist is comfortable with that situation.

"I’m not frustrated," he declared. "We’ve got three really good centre halves and the manager spoke with all three of us and said you are all going to play a lot of games this season.

"Of course you want to play all the games, and also I can play in different positions, but my best position is centre half. Last year I think the manager was lucky that one of us had injury or suspension and he didn’t have to choose but now the three of us, at the moment everybody is fit and the only player that played all the games is Jags.

"Competition for places makes you a better player.  There is a lot of competition in the team at the moment and the best player will always play."

John Heitinga was speaking at a signing session at the Everton Two store on Monday afternoon.

John Heitinga at the Everton Two store

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