A left-field solution to the left-back dilemma?

Eric Lichaj - An outside bet?
With Jose Enrique’s seemingly imminent departure, most Newcastle fans are asking themselves the same thing: “Who’s going to replace Enrique at left-back?”

Wayne Bridge? Too old, too pricey, and Mike Ashley isn’t going to want to pay his £90,000 a week wage. Neither would I to be fair. Neil Taylor? Signed a new deal with Swansea, yet I still see this one floating around. Steven Warnock? Nicky Shorey? Even Cheikh M’Bengue? All of these players would fit the left-back spot, but with Steven and Nicky aged 30 they’re most definitely not getting any younger. We need somebody who can play well, and is still young enough to improve drastically.

My answer: Aston Villa’s 22 year old American international, Eric Lichaj.

His impressive season on loan at Leeds United was enough to convince Bob Bradley to call up Lichaj for the 23-man United States squad in their Gold Cup run. He didn’t start the first two games against Canada and Panama, but later started the remaining four games for the United States where he put in three solid appearances against Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Panama, and one woeful appearance against Mexico.

Now, I must say that while he was a terrible performer against Mexico, he was put into an awkward position, right back. See, Steve Cherundolo was injured and taken off in the 11th minute, which gave Bob Bradley the brilliant idea of putting on Jonathan Bornstein for Cherundolo. Problem though is that Bornstein and Lichaj play the same position, so Lichaj was shifted to right-back while Bornstein ‘played’ left-back . Lichaj, while naturally right-footed, looked awkward and out of place the entire game, and defensive lapses from the United States allowed Mexico to take control of the game and win 4-2. At 22 he still has time to learn from that and adapt to playing both left and right comfortably.

Would he fit in with the current back line though? I think he would. His play style is quite aggressive and physical, but he shows bits of flair at times, much like Enrique. He wouldn’t dictate the game, but he’d win challenges and it would be safe to say that we’d let in less goals. He’s also naturally right footed, so (with a bit of training ground work) he’d be able to cover for Danny Simpson if he were to go out injured during the season, and at 22, he’s still got miles of room for improvement on top of being a solid player already.

Is Lichaj the next left-back super star? Not at all. But Lichaj does fit in under this current transfer philosophy that the ever “knowledgeable” Mike Ashley has come up with. He’s young, and he’d be cheap. I’d expect Villa to part ways with Lichaj for about £3-4 million, if even that.

To be honest though I just hope we bring in a left-back!

Thank to Wor Jackie for sending this in. A bit of a left-field choice but it’s probably something that Newcastle would go for – cheap, unknown, and with potential. Like it? Feel free to debate it or it apart or offer your own suggestions to problem that most of us know exists. You can keep up to date with Wor Jackie on Twitter @Ganon391

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

259 thoughts on “A left-field solution to the left-back dilemma?

  1. Who? The fleet-of-foot coal miners son who dreamed of becoming a big name in the world of ballet?


  2. night all…All my ladies are home…time for family…
    I hope the results are good tomorrow. I’ll be following via this site or twitter.


  3. Pootle, man you chastised me earlier for a loose final sentence in one of my posts, quite right actually but,
    I like your thought provoking posts, but swearing now, your better than that. Later! 🙄


  4. CT, Pootle’s a fkn c0ck, just ignore him and the cnt will go away and crawl under the sh1tty cnting rock the b@std crawled from under.


  5. CT. I’m sure you meant “you’re better than that”

    …get your fkin grammar right you cnt.


  6. Jeez, it was a ‘name the quote’ joke.
    Thought there might be someone of intelligence, someone erudite with an encylopaedic knowledge of the arts who could name the film the quote came from.
    There isn’t though, there’s just Rodders. 😆

    I wasn’t seriously swearing at him and I said ‘funking’ like they do on TV for comic effect.

    You told someone their opinion was invalid and that they should ‘go away’.

    I know which I think is ruder, but if my foul language offended you I’m sorry.


  7. Here’s a cryptic clue to the film title seeing as I’m surrounded by the uncultured tonight. 😉

    The old thespian is colloquial Englishman who sounds like a bit of a fruit!


  8. I’m something only me knows, I’m something only me knows, what kind of something only me knows am I?

    …yeah, fkin great game that Pootle you massive sack.


  9. Bugger.

    I meant:

    The old thespian is the colloquial Englishman who sounds like a bit of a fruit!


  10. just been talkn 2 a man utd fan and hes happy obertan is coming to us and ssays hes so frustrating to watch!! time will tell!


  11. oh, the thought of Obertan becoming our next signing actually induces involuntary urination within one’s undergarments.


  12. …and I will probably also sh1t myself too, with sheer (un)delight. Just for the hell of it.


  13. Oh lordy. I was kind of hoping that if we did get anyone in they would be at least as good as the first team choice in that position or it seems a bit pointless really.

    Still I’ve heard a couple of mixed reports so far, some say he has good potential, some say not. So at this rate I guess it will be wait and see.


  14. Rodzilla’s Final Thought:

    …whatever happened to Kajagoogoo?
    Take care of yourselves, and each other…. 😉


  15. Hmm, lot of Man U fans saying that he shows real touches of class occasionally but he also folds under pressure. Also they are saying they think he can’t handle the large amount of expectation of the big stage of playing at Old Trafford. These were all comments made prior to the end of July, so its not a sour grapes type of thing.

    ““They certainly hope to advance him, something that Bordeaux and Lorient have failed to do. He has the potential, but he must overcome psychological and mental challenges so he can express his true value.”
    Apparently this is what his then coach, Laurent Blanc, said when he transferred to Man U.


  16. just been doing some Obertan ‘research’ on youtube….

    seems like a taller, younger Routledge… with added stepovers, haha

    might as well take a flier on him i guess


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