Micah Richards buoyed by Aston Villa reunion with Ray Wilkins

Micah Richards

The 27-year-old defender previously worked with Villa's new assistant manager during his time playing for England Under-21s.

Aston Villa new boy Micah Richards has told AVTV of his delight at the addition of Ray Wilkins to the club’s backroom staff.

Wilkins, 58, was confirmed as manager Tim Sherwood’s new number two last month, with his predecessor Kevin MacDonald moving back into the old developmental role he filled at the club between 1995 and 2012.

The former England midfielder enjoyed a glittering playing career with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, AC Milan and Paris-Saint Germain, before filling various coaching positions during spells at Queens Park Rangers, Fulham, Stamford Bridge, Watford, Millwall, England Under-21s and the Jordan national team, who he managed at the 2015 Asian Cup.

Richards knows the ex-QPR boss from his time in the England setup and believes that his experience working under esteemed names such as Luiz Felipe Scolari and Carlo Ancelotti will prove invaluable to Villa’s fledgling squad.

In addition, he also insists that the new claret and blue assistant has “a bit of banter” in his locker, telling AVTV: “I worked with him with the Under-21s and he’ll be a nice addition to the squad. I heard people say when he was on Sky the other day that he comes across as quite boring!

“But day-to-day he’s actually a really nice and funny guy so I’m looking forward to working more with him.

“He’s got a bit of banter as well so I can’t wait to get going with him now!”

 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

Richards, meanwhile, became Sherwood first new summer signing last month, having left boyhood club Manchester City on a free transfer to sign a four-year deal with Villa.

The Birmingham-born defender made almost 250 appearances for the Citizens between 2005 and 2014 but spent last season at loan at Fiorentina after finding his first-team opportunities limited in recent campaigns.

Now looking to revive his once-flourishing career back in the Premier League, the 13-times capped international chose Villa over various other offers because of the impact he has seen Sherwood make thus far and believes the team can push for a top 10 finish next term with him at the helm.

“That’s the aim. With the players we’ve got, we shouldn’t be in the bottom half of the league,” he added. “But ability is nothing without results. We need to go out and prove to people that we’ve got not only good players but also a good unit, and the right mentality to climb up that table.

“We’ve been underachieving massively of late so hopefully we can kick on.”

Both Wilkins and Richards should prove fine additions to the Villa Park setup moving forward but, after last season’s 17th-place finish, a top half push might be a tad ambitious unless some sizeable business is done before the close of the summer transfer window.

Nevertheless, with highly-rated Lille midfielder Idrissa Gueye looking set to complete a £9.5 million move to the Midlands [h/t Sky Sports] and a further £9 million deal for Nice left-back Jordan Amavi also reported to be in discussion [h/t Daily Mail], it appears as though work is being done behind the scenes to get the club back competing for a European spot.

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