For most Premier League defences, the injury setback to an England international defender may prove damaging in terms of disrupting the squad dynamic. But not for Everton.

Everton were dealt the news that vice-captain Phil Jagielka will miss up to six weeks after rupturing medial ligaments in last week's 2-1 home defeat to Bolton. Step forward John Heitinga.

The vastly experienced Dutch international has found chances in his preferred centre-back position hard to come by this season.

The 28-year-old has even been deployed at full back or in the holding midfield role after injuries to usual pairing Jack Rodwell and Marouane Fellaini, but team mate Sylvain Distin believes Heitinga is the perfect partner in central defence for the upcoming games with Tottenham and Aston Villa.

Distin said of his Dutch compatriot: "He's played a few games at centre back and showed everybody that he's a tremendous player. You don't play in the final of the World Cup for no reason."

Both Distin and Heitinga will have to be at their defensive best at White Hart Lane tomorrow for the re-arranged fixture with Tottenham.

Spurs have been in fine form at home this season, striking 18 goals and dropping their only points to Chelsea and Manchester City.

It is a mark of the depth of Everton's squad that Heitinga who boasts 72 international caps can fill in as a ready-made replacement.

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Johnny Heitinga
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Sylvain Distin