Micah Richards speaks of his respect for Aston Villa teammate Gabby Agbonlahor

Gabriel Agbonlahor

The Villa new boy is sharing the club captaincy with the 28-year-old striker this season.

Aston Villa defender Micah Richards has told the club’s official website of his admiration for the long-serving Gabby Agbonlahor and praised manager Tim Sherwood’s decision to split the captaincy duties between the pair.

Richards, 27, played almost 250 times for boyhood club Manchester City between 2005 and 2014 but spent last season on loan at Fiorentina after finding his first-team opportunities limited in recent campaigns.

With his contract expiring this summer, the Birmingham-born centre-back opted for a fresh start with Premier League rivals Villa, where he has been quick to make an impression with his leadership skills and experience.

After wearing the armband throughout pre-season following Fabian Delph’s move to his old club, the former England international was named team captain on the eve of the new campaign and has since led the team out against Bournemouth and Manchester United.

At the same time, though, Sherwood has also handed Agbonlahor the role of club captain due to his standing in the dressing room and Villa’s on-field skipper believes there is no better man for the job.

Speaking to avfc.co.uk about the Birmingham-born striker, who was also his teammate with England Under-21s and the senior side in the past, Richards said: "Gabby is a legend here. He is loved by the supporters and he knows the club better than anyone.

"We've known each other for a long time too so I'm delighted to be sharing the captaincy duties with him."

Continuing on wearing the armband in Villa’s first two Premier League fixtures, Richards added: “I know all about the responsibilities that come with the job because I was vice captain at Manchester City for quite a few years.

"The manager obviously feels that on the field I am well suited to motivating the lads.

"I know that all the fans ask for throughout the course of the season is for the players to give 100% effort. Win, lose or draw, I promise you will get that from me."

Richards’ performances at the heat of the Villa defence have so far gone down well the claret and blue faithful, but Agbonlahor’s start to the season has been somewhat less well received.

The homegrown forward, who has scored 84 times in 351 total appearances for the club since making his first-team debut in March 2006, has struggled to pose a threat on goal in the opening two Premier League fixtures and calls for him to be dropped are now increasing.

New boy Rudy Gestede could potentially take the 28-year-old’s starting spot for Saturday’s match at Crystal Palace and, with another front man expected to arrive before the transfer window closes, it remains to be seen how much he will feature in the line-up going forward.

Nevertheless, when it comes to matters off the pitch, Agbonlahor still seems to be regarded as a crucial member of the squad and, as long as Sherwood values that asset, then his future at Villa Park seems to be safe.

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