AMSTERDAM – Aston Villa defender Eric Lichaj has been loaned out to Championship promotion chasers Leeds United for a month, MLSsoccer.com has learned.
The 22-year-old Illinois native has worked five Premier League contests for the Villans this season, but none since a rough outing in their late December loss at Manchester City.
"A deal has been agreed for Eric to join us and we're delighted Aston Villa have agreed to let him come," Leeds manager Simon Grayson told reporters on Wednesday.
Lichaj, who is signed at Villa Park through 2013, was publicly criticized by manager Gérard Houllier after the 4-0 defeat. With fellow youngsters Ciaran Clark and Kyle Walker performing well, the American has now been shipped to Elland Road for playing time.
The US international had successful short loan spells with lower league sides Leyton Orient and Lincoln City last season.
"He is a player that [Villa] have high hopes for and they believe him coming to Leeds will be beneficial for him and us," Grayson said. "A few other Championship clubs were interested, so we are delighted to get a player that has played international football at different levels."
Leeds are attempting to become the first club to rise to the Premier League on consecutive promotions since Manchester City did it in 2001. The Whites stand sixth in the table and three points shy of an automatic promotion slot through 30 games ahead of Saturday's visit to Bristol City.