Can Manchester City defender force his way into the England squad?

Micah Richards

Micah Richards' last cap came against the Netherlands in February 2012 but has yet to feature under Roy Hodgson.

Manchester City defender Micah Richards made his England debut aged just 18 in a game against the Netherlands in 2006.

In doing so, he became the youngest defender to have played for England. In the seven years since he has only gone on to make another 12 appearances. Whilst he has suffered some unfortunate injuries over the years it is surprising that someone of his quality only has 13 caps.

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Richards, now 25-years-old, offers versatility in defence, something that enables him to be an extremely useful addition to an England squad.

Micah Richards' career has been a very stop-start one since bursting onto the scene as a promising 17-year-old when he made his debut in the 2005/2006 season. Later, he went on to become City's youngest ever-captain, so it seemed that he could go on to lead the side for a decade, however, injuries occurred and the team was significantly strengthened following investment from Abu Dhabi.

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Competition has been rife with the imports of Pablo Zabaleta and Vincent Kompany but, regardless, Richards has still played a key role, featuring 29 times in the title-winning season but followed that up last year with just seven appearances in the league.

At the end of the title-winning season, Richards was close to making the England squad for Euro 2012. Instead, Hodgson went for Phil Jones and Micah was asked to be on the stand-by list. He rejected this option, in favour of linking-up with former boss Stuart Pearce with the Great Britain squad for the London 2012 Olympics.

11 of his 13 England caps came during Steve McClaren's tenure, with Fabio Capello seeming very hard for Richards to please. Hodgson would need to see some consistent performances from Richards this season in order for him to be considered.

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On his day though Richards would be a better option than Chris Smalling who can also play in central defence and right-back. Glen Johnson has been injured for the start of the season leaving Kyle Walker as England's right-back for recent games.

Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka seem obvious choices for central defence with little competition at the moment. If Richards were to push on this season, and Manuel Pellegrini gives him a chance then he would give Roy Hodgson something to think about.

He is a great talent, and with John Terry and Rio Ferdinand now retired maybe it is time for Micah Richards to come to the forefront of the side.

image: © Oldelpaso

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