Roberto Martinez has praised the attitude of Everton defender John Heitinga, the
Distin suffered an ankle knock in Everton’s opening Premier League game of the season against Norwich City on Saturday and remains doubtful to play West Bromwich Albion at Goodison in Martinez’s first competitive home appearance since replacing David Moyes.
Heitinga is currently used as back-up to Distin and club captain Phil Jagielka, a role Martinez admits the former Atletico Madrid player is not content with, but the manager has no qualms about deploying Heitinga in the event Distin cannot recover to face the Baggies.
“Of course it’s hard to keep John happy,” Martinez said. “The moment you’ve got a player who is happy not playing then you really do have a problem.
“John has been fantastic with his work and the way he’s been fighting for his place. He brings something completely different to the squad and I’m glad he’s here working the way he does,” Martinez added.
“He is vastly experienced and comes from a background which I really love, that is the Dutch way of playing. I see Johnny as somebody who can play a couple of different roles.
“He’s always a big influence, whether he’s playing games or not Johnny is a good influence on the standards daily here and our youngsters can pick up a lot from him. From my point of view it’s been a real joy to work with Johnny.”
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