Report: Lichaj to Leeds unlikely

Lichaj (Getty Images)

It was widely thought that after regaining his fitness following hip surgery American and Aston Villa fullback Eric Lichaj would head on loan to Leeds United, where he enjoyed overall success in his first stretch with consistent first-team minutes while on loan there last year.

Not so fast. 

According to a report out of England, Aston Villa is not likely to part ways with Lichaj on loan as had been speculated. The report states that Villa manager Alex McLeish is having second thoughts about sending Lichaj elsewhere and is instead more interested in having him fight for minutes behind current starting right back Alan Hutton.

Lichaj is in the midst of his return from his hip injury, one that coincided with the end of the summer transfer window when a proposed loan to Leeds fell through as a result. He has returned to training in recent weeks and made his return to the playing field on Tuesday, playing the first half of Aston Villa's reserve match at right back against Wolverhampton.

What do you think of this development?

Share your thoughts below.

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25 Responses to Report: Lichaj to Leeds unlikely

  1. PetedeLA says:

    I’m actually happy about this. From what I’ve seen, Lichaj has to the goods to make it into the first team at Villa.

    But he will need to work hard for it.

    Wish the best of luck to him.

  2. Villain-from-Texas says:

    A lot of Villa fans, myself included, have wondered why purchased Hutton at all, much less when we already had Lichaj. So this is good news.

  3. Jamie Z. says:

    With dire performances coming from both Villa fullbacks this year, I don’t see why he wouldn’t stick around a fight for a starting spot. Hutton and Warnock have been…just awful. The Hutton transfer made me groan straight away, and a starting eleven with Warnock often feels like playing with ten men.

  4. Tim H. says:

    As a spurs fan and usmnt fan, this is funny to me. Hutton was a calamity defensively a lot of games. Good forward movement, but a mess at defending. I was glad when he was sold. With Lichaj back though, I am hoping McCleish recognizes Huttons bad trends and replaces him permanently w Lichaj. Also it would be fantastic to see Lichaj, who should be a usmnt starter, playing week in and week out in such a competitive league.

  5. Alex says:

    Seems like Hutton isn’t a sure thing by any means, with a CB playing in his stead. So chances are looking good for Lichaj to be able to compete for that spot. I just want him to be 100% before he does play. No sense in waiting so long just to rush it and get re-injured

  6. Air Jordanz says:

    I just hope he stays healthy. He and Chandler at fullback (whichever side) would provide strength, speed and attacking ability at both positions.

  7. Award says:

    Yes indeed. And I for one can’t wait to see both of them on the field at the same time.

  8. nic d the "tx 2 stepper" says:

    Well let’s get him on the field and see what happens here.

  9. Award says:

    Both Chandler and Lichaj have the ability to lock down their respective sides as well.

  10. Award says:

    Good to hear McCleish saying this. Lichaj definitely has the ability take that starting RB spot from Hutton.

  11. SteveMcSteve says:

    Obviously if Lichaj can become the starter at Aston Villa, that is preferable to going on loan to Leeds. But if he ends up just getting spot minutes, it’ll be very disappointing.

    Qualifying is around the corner, and with Cherundolo’s playing time on the decline, the need for another outside back is becoming apparent. Lichaj needs games though if he’s going to be that guy.

  12. Lampard in the End Zone says:

    Hutton combines the tackling prowess of De Jong and the attitude of Balotelli, with none of the skill to match.

  13. GW says:

    Who has more playing time this year Lichaj or Dolo?

    Don’t y’all ought to wait until Lichaj plays a couple of games before naming him a lock to start anywhere?

  14. Soccer Rules says:

    LOL!

  15. hogatroge says:

    Dolo doesn’t have that much PT this year, actually.

  16. BFT says:

    This is great news for Lichaj (and probably for Villa fans). Hutton is basically a thug who really hasn’t been doing the business, and McLeish seems to be calling on Lichaj to try and win the job.

  17. GW says:

    It seems Dolo has 7 appearances in the League, 2 in the Cup and 6 in Europe.

    Hannover have played 17 league games so far.

    Lichaj has one Carling Cup appearance this year and no league games. He had 3 league games last year.

  18. liz says:

    Lichaj actually played the first 45 in villa’s reserve match against wolves today. Hopefully he will be back training with the first team soon

  19. hogatroge says:

    Way to prove my point. For a captain who started every game a season ago, 7/17 appearances in the league (several of which he came off the bench), 2 cup appearances and 6 European appearances is not much PT.

    I never said anything about Lichaj having more PT.

  20. Lost in Space says:

    The only reason I would have wanted Lichaj to go on loan would have been to knock the rust off his game and get 1st team minutes. If he gets the chance @ Villa fine…but if he’s on the bench week in week out I’m going to be upset. Personally think the combination of Chandler & Lichaj as defensive wingbacks is a scary prospect for everyone in CONCACAF. Put Johnson & Donovan in front of them and the width of the field is locked down. Can’t wait for everyone back and healthy (Torres, Holden, & Lichaj). Once that’s accomplished we’ll just need a 2nd striker and some backups.

  21. abc says:

    We don’t need a second striker, not if you want defensive midfielders (let’s say 2/3 of Bradley/DWilliams/Jones, with Edu on the bench), plus Johnson, Donovan, and Dempsey, all out there at the same time. And that’s not even accounting for the return of Holden and Torres, and let’s not forget those who are on the outside looking in like Kljestan and Feilhaber.

    And if we’re playing with a lone forward, we have enough depth at the position with Altidore followed by Agudelo/Gomez/Wondo/Buddle/Bunbury/Boyd.

  22. bryan says:

    i agree that this is good news. i hope he can lock down a spot. would love to see him and chandler at fullback.

  23. Ryan says:

    Good for Lichaj, even at this point in his career I think he is a much better back than Hutton. Cant wait to see the massive progession he will make over the next year great experience if he can break into the starting 11 for Villa

  24. GW says:

    Dolo lost his starting slot at Hannover because the injury he got in the Gold Cup final was bad enough to hinder his training to where he wasn’t really fit when the season opened.

    He may or may not get his starting position back. If he does and maintains his form there is no reason to think he can’t start for the US in the 2014 World Cup. The World Cup has seen many mid 30’s players perform well. After D & D, Dolo has consistently been arguably the best US performer in the last few years.

    More important, JK has made it crystal clear he is performance oriented not age oriented.

    What I find interesting is how so many US fans are just chomping at the bit to ride Dolo out of town on a rail. Typical.

    Lichaj and others are all legitimate contenders for the job but to date, outside of Chandler, who should stay at left back, all of Dolo’s challengers have a long way to go to prove they can consistently play at Dolo’s level. Let Lichaj start more than three league games in a year first then he can get in the conversation.

  25. Its great to see Eric back! I think he should stick it out with Villa and fight for a starting spot with the first team. He has the quality and support to do it.