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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League

by Rob Urbani @efc_roburbani

Thomas Hitzlsperger is relishing the opportunity of increased time on the pitch over the festive period.

The hectic festive schedule, coupled with injuries, afforded the former German international the chance to return to the starting line-up for the Boxing Day visit of Wigan.

The 30-year-old was unlucky not to cap his first taste of competitive action for almost a month with a trademark howitzer strike in the second period - his left-foot thunderbolt from 30 yards leaving Ali Al Habsi stranded, only for the effort to crash against the crossbar.

Having waited patiently for his chance, Hitlzsperger is keen to justify his selection and earn more match time with games against Chelsea, Newcastle United and Cheltenham coming up in the next 10 days.

Hitzlsperger told evertontv: "It is good to be involved. Over Christmas you need all the players in the squad because people can drop out through injury or get fatigued. I made sure I was ready and waiting for my chance.

"I have come here to play, but every player would say the same. I don't find it difficult to be patient and I know my role at the Club. I want to be a part of this team and feature in more games but I know where I have come from so I've learned to be patient. But I didn't come here thinking 'I will be happy being on the bench all season long'.

"I am glad the manager gave me this opportunity to be back playing football after being out for such a long time. I think I have done a fairly good job when I've been in the team. But overall, we have a very good squad and so I have to be patient and do well when I get on the pitch. I have done okay, but there is always room for improvement."

Hitzlsperger is on a short-term contract, having arrived at Goodison as a free agent in October. He has figured in five matches so far this term.

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