By Dan Harrison
Eric Lichaj hopes to forge a successful career for club and country after penning a new three-year contract at Villa.
The American full-back has extended his stay at Villa Park after a series of classy displays during pre-season.
Now he has set himself a double target - breaking into Villa's first team and earning a call-up for the USA national side.
"I'm delighted to be staying at a great club," he said. "I now have a better opportunity to get into the first team.
"Hopefully I can help the team to get better than sixth, where they have finished in the past couple of years. But we'll just have to wait and see.
"Hopefully when I start playing here I can get into the USA team. That would be nice."
Lichaj got his first taste of senior football last term, with loan spells at Lincoln City and Leyton Orient.
He made a handful of appearances for both clubs and scored his first league goal for Orient against Stockport County in April.
It followed on from his role in Villa's Peace Cup triumph last season, when he shone against the likes of Juventus and Porto in the Spanish tournament.
The 21-year-old was snapped up by Villa in 2007 after a successful trial. He had already impressed for the USA at under-17s level.
Since then, Lichaj has starred for the club's youth team and in three consecutive Reserve League South triumphs.
"My first year, I came in injured and wasn't very good but since then I have been progressing very well," Lichaj added.
"Hopefully everything will get better and, with this contract, everything is looking up.
"I'm a hard worker and the coaches here incorporate that - they want everyone to work hard.
"When I first came, I found the pace of the way the English players play was a bit different to in the USA.
"But I have adapted to that now and will hopefully forge a career here for as long as possible."
Check out the full interview with Eric Lichaj on AVTV. The defender discusses a range of topics, such as:
His footballing background
Working with Kevin MacDonald
Experiences at Lincoln and Leyton Orient
His long throw-in
Looking ahead to the future