Eric Lichaj has joined Nottingham Forest on a two-year contract following his release from Aston Villa.

The Chicago-born defender is Billy Davies’ first new arrival, after Darius Henderson signed a new contract, and although predominantly a right-back can also play on the left side of the back four.

Davies said: “Eric is a great signing for us. He has experience at the top level of English football and arrives at an important stage of his career.

“We are very much looking forward to working with him.”

Lichaj added: “I was disappointed not to play more games for Villa last season but that’s in the past – I want to focus on my future with Forest.

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“My agent told me just before the season ended that Forest were interested and it feels good to have finally signed – it’s nerve-racking being a free agent and I’m very happy to come here.

“Hopefully I can help the team and the fans to take us back into the Premier League.”

The 24-year-old made 23 appearances for Villa last season but was released by Paul Lambert on a free contract after falling behind full-backs Matt Lowton and Joe Bennett in the pecking order.

Lichaj arrived at Villa’s academy in 2007 and progressed through the youth and reserve ranks, making his first-team debut in the Europa League play-off away to Rapid Vienna in August 2010. He has also spent time on loan at Lincoln City, Leyton Orient and Leeds United.

The USA international holds a Polish passport, making a work permit unnecessary.

Separately, Elliott Ward joined Bournemouth yesterday on a one-year deal, having left Norwich City as a free agent.

Ward said: It’s been a long summer for me waiting to get a deal done but I’m delighted that it is now. It was just a case of making the right choice and I’ve done that today.

“The club and the manager showed a lot of desire to get me down here to have a look what they’re trying to do here and how they want to progress, and that was a massive in helping me make my decision.”

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