WALSALL, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 22: Eric Lichaj of Aston Villa in action during the Pre Season Friendly match between Walsall and Aston Villa at the Bescot Stadium on July 22, 2008 in Walsall, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
In news that that will help Aaron promote his #LichajforGod campaign, Aston Villa's young fullback has signed a three year extension. Eric Lichaj has certainly been a bright point in the pre-season campaign, showing plenty of assertiveness going forward, but nothing that makes one bite the nails in fear that he won't get back to cover his defensive duties.
While Aston Villa fans had plenty of confidence in their defense last season, this preseason has given cause...well, not to worry so much as be a little concerned. James Collins has been out with injury. Curtis Davies left the field on crutches. Luke Young and Habib Beye are sufficient, but certainly not the sort of defenders that one could imagine on a team aiming to win trophies.
Lichaj, on the other hand, shows quite a bit of promise in right back. The 21-year-old has been with Aston Villa since 2007, and in those three years has helped guide the reserve team to consecutive Reserve League South championships. He's also done some time on loan to Lincoln City and Leyton Orient.
But now it's clear that Lichaj is striving for more--he wants first team football, and he wants it at Aston Villa, not at another club. The American also wants to break into the senior squad for the US National team. He was part of the U-17s but missed U-20s due to injury. Considering Bob Bradley started Jonathan Spector at right back on Tuesday night--whose ability to be pulled out of position was at least partially responsible for Brazil's first goal--there's no reason Lichaj shouldn't get a cap this season.
That is, if he is given regular playing time in England. Kevin MacDonald, caretaker manager and former reserve side manager, has plenty of experience with Lichaj's style and ability. Let's hope that means we see much more of the young right back.
(Also, if he signs a new contract just days after Martin O'Neill quits, seems like the club isn't in that much turmoil)