Aston Villa skipper Micah Richards could make right-back return

Micah Richards

The former Manchester City man has played exclusively at centre-half since leaving his boyhood club for Villa last summer.

Aston Villa manager Remi Garde has revealed to the club’s official website that he is considering moving team captain Micah Richards to right-back.

Richards, 27, originally joined Villa on a four-year deal in July after being released by Manchester City, having been promised the chance to establish himself at centre-half as oppose to his usual right-back spot.

The 13-times capped England international insisted at the time that it was his natural position, and after seeing the experienced but oft-injured Ron Vlaar leave the club on a free transfer, former boss Tim Sherwood was only too happy to grant him his wish to play there on a regular basis.

However, while the new skipper’s initial performances proved commendable, his lack of natural insists in the heart of defence have since become all too apparent over recent games.

Last weekend's 3-1 defeat at Sunderland provided the most glaring example, as the Birmingham-born stopper's poor and reckless positioning was exposed on both of Jermain Defoe's second-half goals.

Alan Hutton, meanwhile, has flattered to deceive at right-back in spite of his faultless commitment, and is now out injured for an indefinite period after tweaking his hamstring in the Black Cats loss.

His absence means that, instead of calling on the versatile Leandro Bacuna to fill in at the position, Garde could instead shift Richards over to the right-hand side of defence – a move he has been pondering since even before the Scot was sidelined.

"This is an idea I've had for a few weeks but I haven't used it yet,” Garde told avfc.co.uk. "Leo Bacuna can play at right-back as well but he gave me some good answers in midfield in the last game.

"Micah Richards at right-back is an option which is still in my head but I will see. I haven't spoken to him about it yet.

"I don't know yet how long Alan Hutton will be out for. I can't say exactly when he will be back."

2015-16 Premier League TeamTotal Tackles MINSTackle AccuracyTotal Clearances MINSHeaders Won MINSHeader SuccessInterceptions MINSPassing AccuracyBall Recoveries MINSAppearancesMins Played
Micah Richards Aston Villa 56.25 75% 12.39 32.14 72% 33.75 86% 19.85 15 1,350
Joleon Lescott Aston Villa / West Brom 86.79 86% 15.38 52.83 66% 34.71 79% 17.36 14 1,215
Ciaran Clark Aston Villa 73.64 73% 10.52 23.14 71% 35.22 76% 25.31 9 810
Jores Okore Aston Villa 51.43 29% 14.4 120 60% 45 84% 18 4 360

Moving Richards to right-back would also allow Jores Okore to come back into the Villa line-up and renew the centre-half partnership with Joleon Lescott that helped the club record three 1-1 draws over a four-game stretch during the festive period.

Both players impressed in stalemates with Southampton, Newcastle United, and West Ham United, respectively, when Richards was sidelined with a minor knee problem, while the pair even gave a good account of themselves in the 2-0 home loss to Arsenal last month.

The defence subsequently looked nowhere near as stable in the back-to-back defeats to Norwich City and Sunderland over the past two games with Richards back in the line-up, prompting fans to call for the skipper to return to the role where he has spent most of his career.

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