Monday 05 August 2013
Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.
Aston Villa manager John Gregory signed German youth international Thomas Hitzlsperger from Bayern Munich as part of a busy summer recruitment drive.
Villa had already signed Luc Nilis, Alpay and David Ginola with Hitzlsperger signing on a two-year deal following a trial with the club earlier in the year.
"My ambition is to play in the Premiership and I intend to reach it," he said. "I have come here to develop as a player and play as a professional."
The then 18-year-old had to wait until January 2001 for his first-team debut, when he came on as an 84th-minute substitute in the 3-0 defeat at home to Liverpool.
The following season, Hitzlsperger went out on loan to Chesterfield but got an extended run in the first team at the end of that campaign, making 12 appearances, while he featured regularly in 2002/03 under new manager Graham Taylor.
Hitzlsperger became a Villa Park favourite and was christened 'Der Hammer' because of his explosive shooting prowess which brought about some spectacular goals. In 2004 he was named as Young Player of the Year by the Midlands Football Writers’ Association.
His time at Villa Park came to an end in 2005, when he signed for Stuttgart, and he left having made 99 League appearances for Villa, scoring eight goals.
After spells in Germany and then in Italy with Lazio, Hitzlsperger returned to England in 2010 when he was signed by West Ham United while last October he joined Everton on a short-term deal.