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Stoke City (H) Fri 26 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Heitinga Leaves For Fulham

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

Defender John Heitinga has left Everton and joined Fulham on a free transfer.

The 30-year-old Dutchman departs Goodison Park after four-and-a-half years with the Club.

In that time, Heitinga amassed 140 first-team appearances, scoring five goals.

His last outing for the Blues came during this month's FA Cup fourth round match at Stevenage, the centre-back stepping off the bench to head Everton's third goal in a 4-0 win.

However, that was one of just five appearances this term and manager Roberto Martinez only reiterated as recently as Thursday that he would be prepared to allow Heitinga to leave in order for the Netherlands star to fulfil his desire for regular football ahead of this summer's World Cup in Brazil.

Speaking following the completion of the deal, Martinez said: "Johnny has left with our best wishes and we hope everything goes as planned and he can get in the World Cup squad. He's been a terrific servant and we wish him well."

A September 2009 arrival from Atletico Madrid, Heitinga proved his versatility during his time on Merseyside, also performing at right-back and in midfield, earning the votes of supporters to be named the Club's Player of the Season in 2012.

An international of 87 caps, he became the first Everton player since Ray Wilson to appear in a World Cup final when he represented his country against Spain in 2010.

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