The German, born in Munich in 1982, has recently returned to the Premier League after signing for West Ham United.
Fans will remember Hitzlsperger from his spell at Aston Villa, where he began his senior career after joining from the Bayern Munich youth team. He settled quickly at Villa Park, establishing himself as a fans favourite and was affectionately nicknamed ‘der Hammer’ for his ability to shoot from long range. Spot the irony…
In total the German made 99 league appearances for the club, scoring eight goals.
The German made the move back to his homeland after the expiration of his Villa contract, signing for Stuttgart. His spell in Germany brought his most successful achievements in his career to date. The Bundesliga title was secured in his second season, and in 2008 he was appointed club captain. Over the next year however things started to turn sour for Hitzlsperger, demonstrated with his disposition as club captain.
Since then his career has seemed set on a downward spiral. He left Stuttgart in 2010, in the January transfer window on his way to Lazio. He was to make only 6 appearances for the club, scoring one goal.
Hitzlsperger’s international career has become affected by his struggles domestically. After being included in the squad for Euro 2008, he started all three of the knockout rounds and was also a virtual ever-present in the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign. Such is the German’s loss of form however that he did not make it into the final squad for the tournament.
The move to West Ham may help Hitzlsperger to rediscover his confidence and ability, in a country and league into which he assimilated with ease. He will certainly be given more opportunity to make an impression given the problems at West Ham and the lack of too many options. The signing could be considered a risk for the club, given the player’s recent struggles but if he is to stage a revival, the Hammers will have a very tidy player on their hands and on a Bosman free transfer. They really have nothing to lose. Recently linked with Arsenal, a player doesn’t earn 50 international caps for Germany without having great ability.
His nickname will certainly endear him to the fans before a ball has even been kicked.
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience