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Heitinga’s Ajax caretaker job extended to end of season

John Heitinga, who was serving as interim coach at Ajax after the dismissal of Alfred Schreuder, will continue in the job until the end of the season, the Dutch club announced Thursday.

The 39-year-old former Dutch international was youth team coach until the firing of Schreuder on January 27.

Heitinga started and ended his playing career as a centre-back at Ajax and also had spells at Atletico Madrid, Everton, Fulham and Hertha Berlin.

“We are convinced that this is the right solution,” said Ajax director Edwin van der Sar.

“John is on a clear and steady path, which has resulted in him developing himself very well over the years.”

The club said it had hired Dwight Lodeweges as assistant coach.

The Canadian-born former Netherlands under-21 international has coached at a series of Dutch clubs including PSV Eindhoven. He was Netherlands caretaker boss in 2020.

The 65-year-old left his position on the board at Heerenveen to take the job.

“The team now has to win, work on their confidence, and develop themselves further. We still have a lot to fight for this season,” said Van der Sar. 

Ajax ended a seven-game league winless run that stretched back to October when they won 4-1 away to Excelsior Rotterdam on Sunday.

That streak, combined with elimination at the group stage in the Champions League cost Schreuder, who took over when Erik ten Hag left for Manchester United last summer, his job.

Ajax are fourth in the Dutch top flight, five points behind leaders Feyenoord. 

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