THOMAS Hitzlsperger has been inspired by Leon Osman’s England call-up - and intends to apply his Everton team-mate’s persistence to his own career.
The 30-year-old midfielder made his first Premier League start for the Blues alongside Osman at Reading last weekend, and the duo’s impressive pairing was one of the few highlights of an otherwise frustrating afternoon.
And while Hitzlsperger admits it will take him time to get back to his best after being out injured for months, he believes Osman’s call-up for England’s recent friendly against Sweden sends out a positive message to other players who have been written off on the international scene.
The former Lazio and Aston Villa veteran, who won 52 caps for his country before being left out of Joachim Low’s squad for the last World Cup, said: “He has proved that you should never rule out playing for your country.
“He has played for such a long time and had to wait a long time to get his first cap and it proves if you work hard and keep going for the team you get rewards in the end.
“He’s a good example and I look at it the same way. I was very pleased for him getting his first England cap. I watched him play against Sweden and thought he did very well - he’s very important to this club that’s clear.
“I’ve just come in and been out for a long time. I’ve got a long way to go but I look forward to it.”
Hitzlsperger, who last month signed a short term deal at Goodison until January, could face a fight to retain his place in the side against Norwich City on Saturday if Darron Gibson is declared match-fit, but he is nevertheless determined to give Moyes a headache when it comes to selecting his midfield.
“It’s been great playing alongside him (Osman) and I’d like to get more games next to him,” he said. “I’ll keep working hard and see what happens.”
* Everton are rolling back the years for Saturday’s home game with Norwich. The fixture is the Blues’ last traditional 3pm Saturday kick-off of the calendar year – and a retro theme will surround the game at Goodison.
As well as a special edition match programme and a pink Liverpool Echo, there will be a comeback for the much-loved old perimeter scoreboards. The Toffee Lady also returns to tradition, with an adult selected as the Blues mascot for one game only.
Tickets are still available and start from £31 for adults and half-price for juniors. To buy visit the Box Office at Goodison Park, TicketQuarter in Queen Square or the brand new ticket kiosk at Everton Two in Liverpool One.