Ray Wilkins backs Aston Villa Captain Micah Richards to return to the England setup

The former Manchester City man has rediscovered his best form at Villa Park.

Former Aston Villa assistant manager Ray Wilkins has tipped Micah Richards for a return to the England setup in the near future.

The 26-year old has comfortably slotted back into Premier League football after a year with Serie A club Fiorentina and now looks a more accomplished and well-rounded player.

Richards’ form this season has been unable to prevent a poor run of results – with Villa currently languishing in last place – but the fact that he has impressed despite the club’s results is testament to the level of his performances.

“Micah Richards for a free transfer was the best get,” said Wilkins on the ‘Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast’ show on talkSPORT this morning (aired at 09:50).

“(He’s come back from Italy) a much better player… he’s been absolutely outstanding at centre-half.

“I’m gonna stick my neck out now and say that if he isn’t included in the England squad pretty shortly, I’d be very surprised.”

Wilkins’ prediction may seem an outlandish one but when the form of the rest of England’s centre-back options are considered, it begins to make more sense.

Besides Chris Smalling, none of the other contenders have really done enough to nail down a starting berth in Roy Hodgson's team.

Gary Cahill has struggled along with his Chelsea team, while Phil Jones has been a periphial figure for Manchester United.

Phil Jagielka has been solid, if unspectacular, for Everton but his recent injury could pave the way for Richards to enter the fray and Wilkins feels he has all the tools to step up to the plate, adding:

“He’s only 26, he’s strong as an ox, he leaps like a salmon and he’s quick – he’s got everything going for him and he’s a fantastic young man as well.

“Now Jagielka has picked up an injury I’d certainly tell Roy to have a look because he’s been playing out of his skin.”

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