Eric Lichaj joined a growing list of Villa hopefuls, youngsters and fringe players to have gone out on loan in the search for regular first team action. The American right-back had a short spell in the Aston Villa first team and after starring against West Brom on his Premier League debut, was tipped for a prolonged run in the team. However, the full-back was found out somewhat, conceding an early penalty in the 4-0 defeat to Man City in December and never forced his way back in. The 22-year-old joins compatriot Brad Guzan, fellow defender Shane Lowry, midfielders Jonathan Hogg and Isaiah Osbourne and striker Andy Weimann in a temporary spell away from the club. With all these players at different clubs I thought I’d try and provide a little update on how they’re getting on away from Villa Park.
Brad Guzan has three weeks to run on a short term loan deal at Championship outfit Hull City after extending his stay at the KC Stadium last month. The American has made 7 appearances in the league for Hull conceding 7 goals and picking up 2 clean sheets, including a shut-out against league leaders QPR. During his 7 game stint the club have lost just once winning and drawing 3 apiece.
Lichaj joins Leeds United on a one-month deal, hoping to gain promotion back into the Premier League, after the club signed Kyle Walker on loan from Tottenham last month. In turn the youngster has slipped down behind Carlos Cuellar in the pecking order and with Luke Young hoping to return from knee injury, Lichaj has been forced to sought options elsewhere. Having only signed yesterday, he is yet to play for Leeds but is in line to start for the Championship side at the weekend.
Shane Lowry is also currently plying his trade in the second tier of English football with Sheffield United who are struggling at the bottom of the league. In the 4 games in which he has played for the club, the Blades have yet to pick up a win, conceding 6 goals in the process. Lowry was involved in one defensive clean sheet in his first game at the club in a stalemate with Coventry City. Lowry will be at Brammall Lane until the end of the season.
Isaiah Osbourne has struggled at Aston Villa after gaining rave reviews 5 or 6 years ago. He made a handful of appearances under O’Neill and was tipped in a next ‘Patrick Vieira’ type role, as with so many other young defensive minded midfielders. The 23-year-old is the only one of the 6 out on loan to be at the lower League One standard, currently playing with Sheffield Wednesday until the end of the season but is yet to turn out for the Owls.
Jonathan Hogg, similarly to Lichaj, broke into the first team this season in surprise fashion when called upon against, no less than league leaders, Manchester United. Hogg is another Villa player, along with the likes of Osbourne and Lichaj, who isn’t quite young enough to be called a youth player anymore. The midfielders progress to senior team status was severely hampered by injuries but since making the step up he showed a resilience and energy which certainly stands him in good stead. The 22-year-old loves a tackle and could prove to be a decent asset for recently relegated Portsmouth, especially considering the size of their threadbare squad. Hogg has three starts for Pompey, but like Lowry at Sheffield United, has yet to come out on the winning side having lost to QPR and Burnley and drawn with Derby last time out.
Finally Andy Weimann, a favourite amongst fans of the youth and reserves set-ups and highly rated young Austrian striker, moved to Championshi side Watford last month. The 19-year-old will have been hoping to crack the first team this season and things looked bright after he was introduced in the seasons opener against West Ham. However, when making an emotional return to home club and former employers Rapid Vienna in the Europa League qualifier things turned sour for the youngster who picked up a serious Malleolar injury. On his comeback trail, Weimann was sent out to Watford to get fitness and first team action. Weimann scored on his league debut for the Hornets, earning a 1-1 draw in the home tie with Crystal Palace. That game remains his only start but there looks to be more in the pipeline after an impressive start. He has come on as a substitute twice, first in the FA Cup defeat to League One leaders Brighton and then in the 1-0 loss to Forest in the league.
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