He was late, very late. I can recall cursing him and swearing in his direction. He was a young teenager on trial, eager to please, and he had made an impact initially because he kept the ball - a useful skill for a midfielder.
He had been invited to join the first team and I remember his close control, his neat passing and, of course, his screamer of a shot with his left foot.
Hammer time: Hitzlsperger opened his account for West Ham, with a stunning long-range strike against Burnley in the FA Cup
They are qualities that have since earned him 52 caps for Germany, the armband of the national team and the nickname 'Der Hammer'.
He will be well liked at Upton Park and a good partner for Scott Parker. Having missed the season up until now, his long-range goal against Burnley in the FA Cup announced his arrival in the first team and it will feel like a new signing for Avram Grant.
I know how much Avram was excited by the signing of Hitzlsperger from Lazio in the summer and how much West Ham have missed him, following an injury collected on international duty in pre-season.
I've followed his career since that tackle on me, especially at Aston Villa, when he scored some excellent long-range goals.
Villan of the piece: The German was a Holte End hero at Villa Park
West Ham were busy in the transfer window and not everything has gone their way with the injuries to Robbie Keane and Matthew Upson.
But Hitzlsperger is some good news, along with Demba Ba. Both urgently need to make an impact if West Ham are to escape. Ba: Pressure to stay up with West Ham? I don't feel it after my troublesWest Ham threaten to sue the FA over Ashton compensation claimKeane speeds up West Ham comeback in ice chamber. with Frank BrunoAll the latest West Ham news, features and opinion
Explore more:People: Matthew Upson, Robbie Keane, Thomas Hitzlsperger Places: Liverpool, Germany