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Lichaj loaned to Leeds United


Photo by Howard C. Smith/

Aston Villa has loaned American fullback Eric Lichaj to Leeds United for the next month.

Lichaj had been getting decent minutes at right back for Aston Villa, but manager Gerard Houllier singled him out after the team was dismantled by Manchester City, 4-0, on Dec. 28, and Lichaj hasn't played since. Making matters worse for Lichaj, Aston Villa also brought in England international right back Kyle Walker on loan from Tottenham.

Going on loan is nothing new for Lichaj, who spent most of last season on loan at two lower-tier clubs, Leyton Orient and Lincoln City. At Leeds, he'll compete for a League Championship team with serious promotion aspirations. Leeds has six matches during the span of the loan.

According to Leeds' team Web site, first-choice right back Paul Connolly has a hamstring injury, and Lichaj could be in the squad for the team's game against Bristol City this weekend if all of the paperwork is sorted on time.

What do you think of the move for Lichaj?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Did I say I thought that? All I said was that nationality can play a role in how a player is evaluated and thought of by a manager. For that, I was snarked at and received a heavy dose of smug from you, but it sounds like you agree with me that nationality can play a role in how a player is treated!

    Contrast my opinion with plenty of commenters when evaluating altidore and Adu that say that “All that matters to the coach is whether or not you put the ball in the net.” I paraphrase, but that’s the general attitude. That’s the argument you speak of, that only talent matters.

    Thanks for the book recommendation. I may disagree with the treatments of the topic and feel the need to conduct my own research and write my own anyway. Want to work on it with me? We’d need to do plenty of work abroad….

  2. Apples and oranges.

    You just listed three right backs. None of those three have ever shown they can play left back at a high level.

    I listed a right back, and two left backs. They make up a fullback rotation for the back four since Johnson has proven he can play either side. Who is your left back?

    Have you, or anyone on this list actually ever seen Chandler play?

    Oh and since winning the Gold Cup means entry into the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil, the dress rehearsal for 2014, it’s a real big deal for the US.

  3. There’s a big difference between “showing promise” and actually being a good, consistent player at the highest level. Lichaj without question has shown plenty of promise and I’m confident he will become a very good fullback eventually. I think his problem now is with consistency and the stakes are simply too (Li) high for Houllier to give him a lot of minutes right now. There’s no ‘American bias’ or anything like that, and this loan will be great for the guy and great for the US.

  4. For the Gold Cup I would take my chances with Steve, Tim Chandler, Lichaj.

    Chandler is a 20 year and is seeing first team minutes in the BL and said he wants to play for the US. For all we know he could be the future RB..or maybe a long shot like Kodi Sardoki explods onto the scene this year in MLS and gets a call upn ext year.

  5. It’s not the squad it’s the position.

    Glen Johnson, Ashley Cole, Leighton Baines.

    If you could have them available for the USMNT Gold Cup squad, you’d turn them down right? Play Lichaj and Bornstein right?

  6. Kevin,

    Perhaps you’re not aware your subject has been addressed many times. Of course, nationality impacts how everyone, Europeans and Americans, view players. For many European countries, it’s a question of regulatory EU quotas. I’m not sure this would apply to Lichaj since I believe he got to Villa on the first place due to his Polish heritage (passport?)much like Howard got to Man U based on his elgilibilty off a Hungarian heritage (passport?).

    There are plenty of literary treatments on the subject of culture and nationality as it relates to the game; so you don’t have to write one. A good place to start would be Luca Vialli’s book The Italian Job: A Journey to the Heart of Two Great Footballing Cultures.

    Americans and Europeans have many stereotypes about a player and a person based on his national origin. Just look at all the ignorance based Gallic bashing on this list. If a player is a Brazilian most people (Americans and Europeans) expect a fluid player with great on the ball skills whose religion is based on Joga Bonita. Never mind that people like Dunga have been capping big, fast, powerful; nasty, physical Brazilian players for many years. It’s an added bonus that they are usually also pretty skilled. Among other things the Brazilian squad that beat the US in the Confederations Cup Final was physically more imposing. Remember the old fighter’s cliché about how a good big man usually beats a good little man?

    You didn’t really think that for those European clubs raw talent was the only consideration when evaluating a player did you?

  7. If Lichaj’s job on Bale ( which he did with the help of his defense) impressed you so much just remember that in the 2007 Copa America Bornstein shut down Messi so completely that Messi moved over to the other side after the half. And the 2007 version of Messi was better than the 2011 version of Bale.

    Answer this honsetly; if Lichaj played for Poland would you still believe what you wrote?

  8. Well presuming that is true, that would explain a lot. And I take back any implied criticism of coach; who had to pull a Magath on Lichaj.

    Next thing you know Lichaj will be playing with Jones at Blackburn…

  9. But 19 year old Walker is much more ready.

    Ok, the kid has scored and done well but when I saw Lichaj when he was in the line-up – he also looked pretty good.

    Anyway, next summer is time for Lichaj to move to greener pastures, whether in EPL, Bundesliga, Serie A…I think he’d do fine in any of those leagues.

  10. you mean he has 2 he has loaned out, 1 more rumor has it whose contract he doesn’t want to renew….and one in on loan for six months.

    So basically by summer – the only American around could be the owner…

  11. Right, Walker has a bad game, no critical comments, right back into Villa squad. Lichaj is singled out as at fault for Man City clobbering squad – ok maybe he played bad but kind of doubt it was all on Eric – and never sees another minute. Lichaj had been playing well.

    But ok now Walker is in and doing well, good for the English quota and – young Walker

    Too bad for USMNT (backup) right back Lichaj; does seem time to move on to another squad come summer.

  12. Excellent. I will be watching the Leeds game and crossing my fingers his paperwork gets done. He has impressed me time and time again.

  13. No need to get chesty. I know all of what you’ve said. That’s the manager’s right. All I’m suggesting is that nationality might play some role in these decisions.

    Soccernomics talked about how Giovanni van Bronckhorst somehow parlayed a stint of dubious success at Arsenal into a stint at Barcelona, where he hardly lit the world on fire. Kasey Keller comments that an American would have found himself on a plane back to MLS very quickly.

    I’m not saying this is why Lichaj was sent into the cold. I am only saying that I think nationality impacts people’s opinions, and managers are on that list.

  14. This amounts to Harry likes some players better than others for reasons you can’t understand.

    My take on it is that you’ve (probably) never managed Dawson, Pavlyuchenko, Bale and Crouch. Is it possible Harry knows something about these players that you don’t?

    Managing a team has it’s objective side , there for all to see. It also has a large side of it that is subjective and can never really be understood by someone far removed from the situation, such as you.

    Is this some kind of amazing revelation?

    I’m sure Harry has an explanation for every one of his decisions. And I’m pretty sure he won’t be revealing those explanations to you or me any time soon.

  15. “In a matter of a single game, Lichaj went from a starter to not even making a bench in any of the subsequent games. And that happened without Lichaj making any disparaging statements to the mass media or challenging his manager in public.”

    No, it happened because Houllier thought he had better players available.

    Lichaj wasn’t the starter on merit.

    He was getting starts because the real starter was injured. Houllier was/is in a relegation battle. He can’t afford to play politics with players. He needs his best out there now. Walker had a bad game as well but has since played better and was called up by England for the Denmark game.

    There is a lot less there than you seem to think.


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