By IVES GALARCEP
After five years that saw him spend far more time on the bench than on the field, Eric Lichaj is ready to leave Aston Villa for the next destination in his playing career.
The American fullback will be leaving Villa Park after the Villans declined to re-sign the 24-year old. Lichaj is one of several Villa players, including former San Jose Earthquake Simon Dawkins, who the club is letting go.
Lichaj featured in 17 matches for Aston Villa this season, making nine starts and playing mainly as a back-up left back. He saw time at his natural right back position later in the season.
The next step for Lichaj remains unclear but after successful loan spells with Leeds and Leyton Orient in the past, Lichaj is a good bet to be pursued by clubs in the English League Championship.
Lichaj had once figured prominently as a long-term fullback prospect for the U.S. Men’s National Team under former U.S. coach Bob Bradley, starting the final four matches of the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup as a 21-year old, but he has yet to be called up by Jurgen Klinsmann.
A quick fullback who can get forward well, while also capable of delivering dangerous long throws, Lichaj struggled at times playing at left back, but looked more comfortable later in the year at his preferred right back position. A regular starter at the tail end of the 2012 season at left back, Lichaj has the sort of Premier League experience that should make him an attractive free agent.
Where would you like to see Lichaj go next? Think he should consider a move to MLS, or do you feel he is good enough to stay in England?
Share your thoughts below.