Proud Heitinga Is Best Player
Proud Dutchman says Everton is his 'family'.
A proud John Heitinga said he was deeply humbled after the Everton supporters voted him as their Player of the Season.
Heitinga was rewarded for his sustained excellence at the heart of the Blues defence with thousands of votes in a poll on the Club’s official website.
The clearly delighted Dutchman collected the coveted prize as the 2011/12 campaign was celebrated with a ceremony at Liverpool’s historic St George’s Hall on Thursday evening.
And for Heitinga, recognition was made all the sweeter by the fact it came from the supporters with whom he shares such a rapport.
He said: “I am really happy to win it, it is a big award, a big honour and I want to thank everyone – especially my teammates.
"It's always good if the fans like you, but you know how football is. One day you're a hero, the next you're not. So every game I play I give 100 per cent.
"When I came over from Atletico Madrid, the manager told me a lot of stories about Everton. After my first training session, the feeling was really good and now after three seasons here, I'm still really happy at Everton.
"I love playing for Everton and it feels like family."
Manager David Moyes added: “Many players could have won this prize but there is absolutely no doubt that Johnny is one of them. He really deserves it.”
Heitinga has emerged as a firm fans’ favourite this season through not only his consistently superb performances – but also his style.
Always brimming with passion, he combines a visceral commitment to the cause with all the class and composure you’d expect of a vastly-experienced Dutch international.
While always a key player throughout his three seasons at Goodison Park, Heitinga has made the most of an extended run in his favoured position this term and shown the type of form that earned him a reputation as one of the best centre-halves in Europe.
Alongside the quality displays has been leadership, with the defender thriving on the extra pressure and responsibility placed on him by injuries to Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin in the run-up to Christmas.
Heitinga extended his good form into the second half of the campaign and the team has kept clean sheets in 10 of his 20 starts since the turn of the year.
The Everton Player of the Season award was sponsored by SE Group.