David Moyes believes John Heitinga will have no problem filling the defensive void left by Phil Jagielka.
The Dutch international looks set to partner Sylvain Distin at centre-half against Wigan after it was confirmed that Jagielka will miss Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final.
Moyes revealed that he is hopeful it won’t be ‘too long’ before Jagielka has fully recovered from the ankle injury sustained in the win over Reading.
But while the former Sheffield United man is absent, the Blues boss says it is time for Heitinga to exhibit the qualities which saw him play in the 2010 World Cup final.
The former Ajax man’s last start for Everton was a month ago in the 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford.
“Johnny has got the experience and has played a lot of games at the top level,” Moyes told evertontv. “He will be given the opportunity to show what he can do.”
Leighton Baines has also championed Heitinga’s credentials, explaining that the 29-year-old is a ready-made replacement for Jagielka.
“Jags is going to be a big loss for any team because he is such a big defender but it’s a luxury to have someone like Johnny to call upon,” said Baines. “With all his experience, he is definitely the man to step in.
“It’s like-for-like and not as though we are going to play someone out of position. He is someone who has played a lot of games and has won a lot of international caps playing there.”