Micah Richards was once considered the brightest and best of England’s young defenders, but lack of game time coupled with stagnation in progression meant the 26-year-old fell out of the senior international picture all together.
Last season, Richards made just two Premier League appearances, one less than he made in the Champions League, and ultimately sat on his hands while watching his teammates go on to pip Liverpool to the title during the ‘run-in’.
Frustrated, Micah Richards opted to take a pay cut to join Fiorentina in the summer and given the attitude in his most recent interview it’s safe to say the confidence is back in the bulky defender.
When asked on the situation with the England team, Richards responded: ‘’The England situation? Obviously, when I didn’t go on stand-by and I went to the Olympics, obviously that’s an issue between me and Roy that we maybe need to address. I had an amazing chance of going to the Olympics, I wanted to go.
‘’If you look at England’s defence now, do I believe the players there are better than me? I wouldn’t say yes.
‘’But I understand that managers like certain players and like a different way of playing, and as a player sometimes you just have to accept that.’’
Given Roy Hodgson’s tendency to pick players of a similar style to Micah Richards should the question over his exclusion be put purely down to the system England want to play.
All three are right-sided that can play both at centre-backs or full-back and are regularly asked to play a similar role to what you would expect Richards to also be good at. An indication that the system isn’t part of the reason Richards has been left out at all.
On his dismissal of any England defender being better than him, given his lack of game time it is hard to tell, something he relates to later in his interview.
Richards added: ‘’If someone was to ask me do I believe I should be in the England squad over the past two years, in and out of injuries, in and out the City team, then no I shouldn’t have been.
‘’Should I have been in it two years ago when I was playing well and won the league? Yeah I should have been.
‘’It’s not the decision for me to make, that’s the decision for the manager. If I get picked, I get picked. If I don’t, I don’t.’’
Richards, if he does prove to be a success in Italy, may find himself back on the radar of Hodgson but given their history who knows. The City defender clearly indicated there were some issues that needed to be ironed out in his interview.
The last appearance Richards made for England was in 2012 and since his omission from the Euro 2012 finals he hasn’t ever looked close to a re-call.