Everton boss David Moyes has confirmed German midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger will be staying with the club until the end of the season.
Hitzlsperger, having been without a club since leaving Wolfsburg last summer, signed a short-term contract with the Toffees in October that saw him through to this month.
The 30-year-old former Aston Villa and West Ham player has made seven appearances for the Merseyside outfit so far and, asked about Hitzlsperger's future this afternoon, Moyes said: "We have decided to keep him on. Thomas is going to stay until the end of the season.
Moyes added: "He has played a few games for us now, and he has been around the block a few times. He knows exactly what is required."
It was announced earlier today that 19-year-old Everton midfielder Ross Barkley has joined Leeds for an initial one-month loan.
It is a move Moyes feels is important for the youngster's continued development, and one he stressed has been made viable for the Toffees by the retention of Hitzlsperger.
"Thomas wants to play, like everybody else," Moyes said.
"We've needed him and we will continue to need him with the games we have got in the second half of the season.
"I was thinking about letting Ross go out on loan and Thomas' experience allowed me to do that. I just felt that keeping him was important."
Barkley has already had a spell on loan with another npower Championship side, Sheffield Wednesday, this term.