Aston Villa new boy Micah Richards tells how former claret and blue pair contributed to his move

Micah Richards

Ex-Manchester City teammates Gareth Barry and James Milner both told the 27-year-old defender to make the switch to the Midlands.

Aston Villa new boy Micah Richards has told AVTV how ex-Manchester City teammates Gareth Barry and James Milner both played big roles in convincing him to join their former club.

Richards, 27, agreed a four-year deal with Villa last month to become Tim Sherwood’s first summer signing, having been released by City after making almost 250 appearances since his first-team debut in October 2005.

The versatile defender was a core member of Roberto Mancini’s 2011-12 Premier League-winning side but found his opportunities limited in recent seasons due to both injuries and the form of fellow right-back Pablo Zabaleta.

 Premier League PositionTeamSeasonErrors Lead To GoalTotal Tackles MINSTackle AccuracyTotal Clearances MINSHeaders Won MINSHeader SuccessInterceptions MINSPassing AccuracyAppearancesMins 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 term on loan at Fiorentina, where he featured 19 times across all competitions, the former Blues product was determined to return to England this summer and is reported to have fielded offers from the likes of Sunderland and West Ham United [h/t Guardian].

However, after Villa came calling, the 13-times capped England international got in touch with now-Everton midfielder Barry and recent Liverpool signing Milner too see if either had any advice about whether to make the move to the Midlands.

The pair, who played alongside each other at Villa Park for several seasons before both joining City in the space of 14 months from June 2009, clearly had good things to say about their old team, as Richards himself was quick to stress upon his arrival.

“I spoke to Milner a lot and he said it’s an amazing club,” Richards told AVTV. “He had some of his best years of his career here.

“Gareth Barry was obviously here for a long time and said I’d enjoy it, so they both spoke highly of it and I can’t wait to get going.”

Another couple of Richards’ former City teammates happen to already be at Villa, with goalkeeper Shay Given making the move from the Etihad in July 2011 and winger Scott Sinclair joining on a permanent deal at the end of last season following a loan spell.

“It’s obviously nice to have a few players you’ve played with before here,” he added. “Scott’s a fantastic player. I think he’s in a similar positon to me, where he’s not played enough over the past couple of seasons, but the quality’s there for everyone to see. Hopefully he can get a good pre-season under his best and do well for us this season.

“And Shay needs no introduction. He’s had a fantastic career and is an amazing pro. We’re going to car share for the first six months and take it from there!”

It remains to be seen whether either Given or Sinclair will be in Villa's starting XI for their Premier League opener at Bournemouth on 8 August but, fitness permitting, Richards himself should be making his claret and blue debut.

Despite having spent most of his career at right-back, that first appearance could also come in the heart of defence, with Sherwood believed to have earmarked him as a replacement for the departed Ron Vlaar.

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