Heitinga hoping for Euro return

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Everton defender Johnny Heitinga has set his sights on European qualification for the Toffees next season.

As the Blues prepare to host Chelsea in their final game of the 2010-11 campaign at Goodison Park on Sunday, Heitinga is hoping for a strong finish to lay the foundations for a good start next year.

With Europa League qualification out of reach, the best Everton can hope for is a seventh placed finish in the Barclays Premier League, but even that would not have seemed possible at Christmas.

Notoriously slow-starters, Everton found themselves bottom of the table with only three points from their first six games, but have ended the season as one of the form teams in the division with only a solitary loss in the previous nine games before last weekend’s away defeat to West Brom.

"I am looking forward to next season and hopefully we can get back into Europe," said Heitinga.


"I miss playing in Europe because that's the highest level you can play in as a player, but hopefully we can reach that with Everton next season."

The 27-year-old stopper has endured a frustrating campaign, with a series of niggling injuries often keeping him out of action.

Now fit-again, Heitinga has re-established himself firmly in manager David Moyes' line-up, and reflected positively on life on Merseyside.

"I feel good over here," he added. "I have another three years on my contract, the fans are good with me, the manager is good with me, the play is good and I’m happy here at Everton."

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