The effect Tim Sherwood has had on the club in recent months proved enough to convince the defender that Vila Park was the best place to continue his career.
Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) July 3, 2015
New Aston Villa defender Micah Richards has told the club’s official website how the impact Tim Sherwood has made since his appointment as manager was crucial to convincing him to make the move to the Midlands.
Richards, 27, was confirmed as Sherwood’s first summer signing last month after being released by boyhood club Manchester City following a 10-year career in which he made almost 250 appearances, while winning two Premier League titles and the FA Cup in 2011.
The right-back, who has 13 England caps to his name, brings a wealth of experience with him to Villa but is also looking to get his career back on track after finding his opportunities limited at the Etihad Stadium in recent seasons due to both injuries and the form of Pablo Zabaleta.
|Premier League||Position||Team||Season||Errors Lead To Goal||Total Tackles MINS||Tackle Accuracy||Total Clearances MINS||Headers Won MINS||Header Success||Interceptions MINS||Passing Accuracy||Appearances||Mins Played|
|Micah Richards||DF||Man City||2011-2012||0||38.53||75%||22.69||38.53||74%||58.34||84%||29||2,042|
|Micah Richards||DF||Man City||2012-2013||0||56.18||91%||15.45||25.75||77%||44.14||89%||7||618|
|Micah Richards||DF||Man City||2013-2014||0||32.2||80%||32.2||26.83||86%||40.25||90%||2||161|
Having spent last season on loan at Fiorentina, where he featured 19 times across all competitions, he was determined to return to the Premier League and, after witnessing the miracles Sherwood performed in helping the club avoid the drop last season, believes Villa Park is the perfect place for him to prove his talent once again.
"The new manager has come in and it is like a new lease of life and when I spoke to him there was only really one place I wanted to come," Richards told AVTV. "He mentioned what a massive club it was and what he is trying to do here.
"Since he has come in, the impact he has had has been amazing really. We got to the final of the FA Cup and he also got us out of trouble in the Premier League.
“He seems to give young English players a chance,” he continued. “I’ve just turned 27, so I don’t fit in that description anymore, but I still feel like I’ve got my best years ahead of me and I’m looking forward to it.
“The last couple of seasons, I’ve been underachieving massively. I’ve been unfortunate with injuries where I picked up one at City and, with the form of Zabaleta, it was tough to get back in the squad.
“I’ve gone away to Fiorentina and played some games but not as much as I wanted. I was fit for a lot of the matches, though, so I’m coming here now feeling good and ready to show everyone what I can do.
“I’ll be coming in as a senior player with that winning mentality. I go onto the pitch as a winner and that’s probably why I’ve picked up so many injuries over my career – I’m an all or nothing kind of player. I give 100 per cent every game and I hope the Villa fans will see that.”
Despite spending most of his career at right-back, Sherwood is believed to have earmarked Richards as a replacement for the departed Ron Vlaar in the heart of defence, where the Birmingham-born stopper first began life as a professional.
As a player who, at 18, took Rio Ferdinand’s record as the youngest defender to win an England cap, few doubt that he possesses a great deal of talent and, while it has not been seen much of late, regular football at Villa could be the key to helping him rediscover his former promise.
After all, he is someone who seems to have thrived on confidence in the past and, in Sherwood, he has a manager who his bound to give him just that.