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By ESPN Staff

Stubbs returns to Everton

Alan Stubbs has returned to his first love, Everton, insisting 'in spirit' he never felt he had left Goodison Park.

The veteran defender goes into the squad for the home clash against Arsenal with a contract until the end of the season and the hope that he can impress manager David Moyes and get another deal in the summer.

He said: 'It is what I want, but I will have to show I am worth it.'

Stubbs moved to Sunderland last summer after captaining Everton to Champions League qualification.

However, after a row over a new deal, and claims that the Toffees wanted a clause in the new deal that it could be cancelled if there was a recurrence of the testicular cancer he has twice beaten, there was a parting of the ways.

Now Stubbs, who accepted Everton were prepared to drop the offending clause, is back after the Merseysiders sold Danish international Per Kroldrup to Fiorentina for £3.6million.

Stubbs said: 'It was very difficult to leave in the first place, for whatever reasons, especially after having a great season and qualifying for the Champions League.

'But that is all in the past now, I have said my apologies for clearly not understanding the things that were said at the time. I now know the club were prepared to wave the clause in the deal they offered me that referred to the testicular cancer issue.

'It was disappointing but it's in the past now. I'm really looking forward to being back here again and getting into the team.'

Everton should have Simon Davies and Duncan Ferguson back from injury for the clash against a Gunners side who scored seven past Middlesbrough last weekend.

Stubbs is relieved to be part of it all again, saying: 'It looks like Everton are turning for the better after five games without a defeat. They look good and are coming into form.

'That's where we want to be looking now, there are not many points between us and the top 10. If we can keep this run going we will be back up in the top half, starting with a result against Arsenal.

'No matter what you do in life, you need luck. I'm lucky to have this opportunity to come back.

'I'm delighted to be here again. It will be difficult to get back in, but there have always been players here to compete with.

'I do not expect to go straight in, I must prove I am worthy of it and a further contract. That's my aim.'

Kirkby-born Stubbs, a lifetime Everton fans, added: 'I was aware of all the letters to the local papers saying I should be back. A lot of them were my letters!

'I was watching the games when I wasn't playing for Sunderland and was very aware of what I had left behind.

'When I spoke to David Moyes it didn't matter what the manager was offering me, I was ready to jump at the chance to come back.

'I'm looking forward to getting the team going in the right direction.'

For Moyes it has been a bitter experience seeing the highly-rated Kroldrup fail to come to terms with the Premiership.

Moyes said: 'It was the right time for Per Kroldrup to move on. He has been very unfortunate not to have played more.

'We watched him play for Denmark, we felt he was the right one to come in. But since he was here there have been bits of his play I was not happy about.

'He is probably more suited to playing in Italy. He's a great lad, I got on really well with him but the opportunity for him to go back to Italy and join Fiorentina was a good one.

'It was a football decision taken by me and the right thing to do at this time.

'Alan Stubbs will give us competition, and it's good he's back. He had a difficult spell at Sunderland but we never wanted him to go.'