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Troubling times for Everton

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 By Mike Whalley

Hitzlsperger and Mucha leave Everton

Everton have confirmed that midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger and goalkeeper Jan Mucha are leaving the club. Both players are out of contract at the end of June, and their deals will not be renewed.

Jan Mucha failed to provide sufficient competition for Howard last season
Jan Mucha was the back-up goalkeeper

Hitzlsperger, 31, was signed as a free agent in October on a short-term deal, which was later extended until the end of the season. The former Germany international had been without a club, having been released by Wolfsburg in 2012 after battling back from a serious knee injury.

Hitzlsperger was brought in as cover, making four starts for Everton and playing just eight minutes of Premier League football in 2013.

Mucha, 30, figured only rarely after arriving from Legia Warsaw in the summer of 2010, as he struggled to dislodge first-choice goalkeeper Tim Howard. Having made a handful of League Cup appearances during his first two-and-a-half years at Goodison Park, Mucha was given a Premier League debut against Reading in March 2013 when Howard was ruled out with a back injury.

The former Slovakia international impressed in a 2-0 victory over then defending champions Manchester City on March 16, but lost his place when Howard was fit again. Their departures follow that of captain Phil Neville, who announced in April that he would be ending his eight-year playing stint at the club this summer.

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