Everton currently find themselves in something of a defensive injury crisis. With Seamus Coleman and Tony Hibbert both out injured and Phil Neville being utilised in the midfield it has left Everton having to use Phil Jagielka at right-back in recent fixtures.
While Jags has certainly performed to the best of his ability there is little doubt that his presence is bound to be missed in the heart of Everton’s defence; where he has formed a solid partnership with veteran French defender Sylvain Distin.
Yet it certainly should not be too much of a problem as Everton have a ready-made replacement to come in and replace Jagielka alongside Distin. A 29-year-old international with 80 plus caps for his country, a FIFA World Cup Final appearance under his belt and the clubs fans player of the year last season; Jonny Heitinga is a more than capable replacement.
However all is not well in the Heitinga camp and he has struggled for form in his recent outings against Aston Villa and Manchester United. He himself admitted that the performance against Aston Villa earlier in the month was not up to the standard necessary Tweeting:
“Played worst game ever in the shirt of #Everton. Let teammates and fans down but they never let me down. Will work hard to come back strong,”
Now it seems that David Moyes may be considering other options as The Liverpool Echo report Shane Duffy is in line for an appearance against Norwich City this weekend; perhaps to give Heitinga a little bit of a break from his current mishaps.
The Irishman famously cheated death after lacerating his liver in a freak collision while on international duty in 2010. Since then he has re-established himself as a key member of The Toffees backup-brigade. Now it seems the ‘Miracle Man’ may just be about to usurp Heitinga into the starting line-up.
Moyes has plenty of different options. He could certainly switch Neville to right back or even Heitinga to alleviate some of the stress and pressure of playing in the centre. Maybe even give John Stones an almost immediate opportunity to impress following the teenagers January move from Barnsley.
Or slot Shane Duffy alongside Distin and see how he does. Everton are never going to be blessed with large finances and at 21 it is time to see if the talented home-grown player sinks or swims at this level so they can consider their future options; including the future of the fan favourite Heitinga.
Do you think Shane Duffy will sink or swim at Everton?
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