Richards - Play Me or I Go?
How ironic that after I praised his performance, for the first time, after his showing against Arsenal on Wednesday, that Micah Richards should be starting to issue 'need to get away' notices to Roberto Mancini.
No this is not cause and effect. Once more it is a player who believes he is better than he is looking for route one to first team football...somewhere.
It is no secret that had he not been in the middle of a season-long injury, Nedum Onuoha would have played ahead of Richards on the night he made his debut.
The Gods dealt Micah a hand and he took it with both hands. Within weeks Freguson was going to pay £12million for him to play alongside Ferdinand, he would be a nailed on regular for England, again alongside Ferdinand or even to replace the forever ageing Gary Neville. Juventus, AC Milan, Barcelona, Real Madrid and the world was mentioned.
Enter the agent hunting down more money for him and boy did Micah start to believe in his own press.
He has simply never lived up to it. I have criticised him in The Ped Report regularly and for good reason. He is only just now after what five years, coming to terms with how to defend.
Last season you could point to no end of matches where he was either missing or allowed an attack to develop down his side, which resulted in a goal for the opposition. Indeed he did so as recently as the Juventus away match in the Europa League.
He may in his own mind that regular first team football is the answer, but it has to be regular football where he properly expresses a desire to learn his trade. Look at the difference between him and Nedum Onuoha. Nedum has moved out to Sunderland on loan. He is now coached by the best unsung centre half never to play for England and what a difference this has made to his game. Richards probably looks at and in Yosser Hughes style thinks ' I can do that..gizza job'.
He correctly remarks that City have strength in depth in a number of positions now, including his, and that first team starts will come at a premium for him. Well they wouldn't if he was good enough.
If you look at Jerome Boateng. When City has a corner and Kompany goes up from the back, Boateng is often left to cover two positions. He is able to do that leaving neither area looking weak. Micah has been unable to play or cover in his own position without it looking weak. He is blessed with fitness, strength and pace. What he needs is football nous. He has started to find this under Roberto Mancini and as part of a major squad of quality international players he should blossom. If Capello is telling him 'No First Team - No England', do you expect Capello to still be there after the next major championships? By that time Richards could be a much better players and holding down more regular starts at City...oh and playing in the Champions League.
If he moved to any of the London teams at the top he would be a squad player and ultimately in the same boat, because those managers too would be brutal if he allowed wingers past him to set up goal chances for the opposition.
Get real, Micah, you will learn more, earn more and attain more at Eastlands.