Thomas Hitzlsperger will be keeping a close eye on events at the Boleyn Ground this weekend.

The ex-West Ham United and Aston Villa midfielder moved back to his native Germany after leaving the Hammers in the summer of 2011, but 'Der Hammer' remains a keen fan of his two former clubs.

Still only 30, Hitzlsperger also revealed in an exclusive interview with whufc.com that he is eager to return to English football after an injury-affected season with Bundesliga side VfL Wolsfburg.

As for West Ham and Aston Villa, the Munich-born Germany international believes the abilities of managers Sam Allardyce and Paul Lambert will see both thrive in the Barclays Premier League this season.

"It's always difficult to predict how a team is going to do, especially after promotion. I wish the West Ham team all the best that they stay in the Premier League and don't have to fight for survival all season long. Sam Allardyce is experienced enough to get the job done.

"Paul Lambert has had a good season with Norwich City [last season] and I am sure he will bring some stability to Villa. The club has big potential."

Hitzlsperger, who spent four seasons with Aston Villa between 2001 and 2005 before playing 13 times for West Ham during the 2010/11 campaign, believes both clubs need to adopt a positive approach this season.

With Villa finishing 16th last term and the Hammers being newly-promoted, the temptation may be to target 'winnable' games, but the former VfB Stuttgart player believes every Barclays Premier League fixture represents a potential three points.

"Of course, any game is winnable and therefore I would always try to achieve the maximum. However, international players sometimes need a rest. It's important to have a balanced squad."

As for Hitzlsperger himself, he revealed that he would love to return to the Barclays Premier League himself and make up for lost time.

The midfielder injured his thigh while on international duty just days before his scheduled West Ham debut in August 2010. Last season, knee problems restricted him to just six Bundesliga appearances for VfL Wolfsburg, but he is now returning to full fitness and hoping to start a new chapter in his career.

Last week, he spent time training with MLS club San Jose Earthquakes in the United States, but he told reporters there and whufc.com that he sees his future on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.

"I didn't have a good season, because I was out for most of the time. Two operations on my knee allowed me only six appearances.

"I just hope that I can play regular football again. After two years with little football, I just want to get back to playing, preferrably in England."