U.S. Men’s National Team defender Eric Lichaj kicked off his second preseason at Hull City on Tuesday as the Tigers get set for another run at promotion back into the English Premier League. Hull finished 12th in the EFL Championship last season, totaling 62 points in the 46-match campaign.
Lichaj, 30, made 36 appearances in all competitions for Hull in his first season since joining from Nottingham Forest. The American is expected to be a key part of the Tigers squad this season under new manager Grant McCann.
“It’s always good to come back in for the first day of pre-season,” Lichaj said in an interview with the club website. There’s been some good interaction on the first day and – along with everyone else – I’m looking forward to working with him [McCann].
“I said hi to him when I came in this morning and one of the first things he said to me was that ‘the full-backs need to be really fit’ – so I’m definitely looking forward to that! As I say, everyone is raring to go and ready for the hard work that lies ahead.”
Lichaj has continued to earn consistent minutes in England and is coming off a stellar campaign, in which he played numerous spots in the backline. Normally seen at right back, Lichaj started several matches at centerback and could very well be used there if necessary under McCann.
The goals for Hull under McCann will obviously be to aim for the top six, knowing a first or second place finish will earn them automatic promotion. The team begins preseason friendlies on July 9th against Leyton Orient before eventual showdowns with Manfield, Amiens SC, and Doncaster Rovers.
“From seeing the guys today, it’s clear to see everyone is excited for the challenges that lie ahead in the forthcoming season,” Lichaj said. “Obviously with the new Head Coach in place, everyone wants to take the opportunity to firstly get to know him and then impress him. I know we’ll be going away on a training camp soon, so I’m excited about that.
“Pre-season will be long and tough but we all know how important it is to put the effort in and to make sure we’re ready. It’s important that everyone gets themselves into a position where they’re ready to play the full 90 minutes on the opening day of the season.”
The team kicks off league action on Aug. 3rd at Swansea City before hosting Reading in their home opener seven days later.