Lichaj on comeback trail

[AMERICAN ABROAD] Defender Eric Lichaj, who started for the USA at the 2011 Gold Cup, returned to action Tuesday after a five-month layoff following hip surgery. The Chicago product started the first half at right back for Aston Villa's reserves in their 7-1 win over Wolves.

Lichaj, 23, scored his first goal for Villa in his only appearance for current Villa manager Alex McLeish this season, a 2-0 win in the second round of the League Cup on Aug. 23.

He has five league appearances for Villa since moving to England in 2008. He has played 30 games on loan for Lincoln City, Leyton Orient and most recently Leeds United.

Leeds was believed to want to pursue another loan deal for Lichaj as it makes a move to earn promotion to the EPL, but McLeish is believed to want now want to hold on to Lichaj as cover for Scottish right back Alan Hutton, whose recent form has been inconsistent.

Lichaj played at left back for Bob Bradley at the Gold Cup; he has yet to play for new U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

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