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Micah Lincoln Richards (born 24 June 1988) is an English footballer who plays for Manchester City in the Premier League. A versatile defender, Richards can play in defence or in central midfield but has become known as a right back. On making his full England debut in November 2006, he was the youngest defender ever to be called up to the England squad.

Club career

Early career

Though his parents lived in Manchestermarker, Richards was born in Birminghammarker as his parents were visiting relatives in the area at the time. Richards grew up in the Chapeltownmarker district of Leedsmarker, where he attended Archbishop Cranmer CofE Primary School. His potential was spotted by the school’s football coach David Moore, who drafted him into the school team at the age of seven.

Richards played for the Leeds United youth system as a striker, but he was released when he was around eight years old. He later played for the Oldham Athletic youth system, moving to Manchester City in 2001 as a 14-year old, with Oldham reputedly having a 20% sell on clause. In July 2006 Manchester City reportedly tried to buy out the clause, but Oldham refused. He also attended the Brazilian Soccer Schools scheme and retains strong links with this programme, with his father Lincoln actually running a Brazilian Soccer School in Chapeltown, Leeds.

Manchester City

He made his first team debut on 22 October 2005 against Arsenal, coming on as a substitute and was given his full debut on 12 February 2006 against Charlton Athletic. Since making his first start he has played in the majority of Manchester City's matches, and was named as the club's Young Player of the Year for the 2005–06 season.

Richards came to national prominence when his 94th minute headed goal in a televised FA Cup fixture against Aston Villa gained City a replay. Following the game, an emotional Richards was interviewed by Garth Crooks live on BBC One. During the interview, he was asked about his goal and used the phrase "fucking hell", and then continued with the interview.

During the 2005-06 season, Richards captained the Manchester City youth team which reached the final of the FA Youth Cup. Richards missed the first leg of the final as he was on first team duty, but returned for the second leg. He helped his side to a 2&dnash;0 win over Liverpool, but Liverpool youth won the trophy 3-2 on aggregate.

In July 2006, Manchester City rejected a bid of £5& million for Richards from Tottenham Hotspur. On 25 July 2006 he signed a new four-year contract, quashing rumours of a move away from the City of Manchester Stadiummarker. Throughout 2007, Richards was linked with a move away from City, with Chelsea the main contenders to sign the youngster for £15 m+. Stuart Pearce said "I am not actively looking to sell Micah because he has a great future here. Whatever offers come in for him, it is going to take a ridiculously big offer to get him out of this football club. I would love to see Micah stay here, captain the club, and maybe be here for 10 years and carry the club on his back if he can. He is good enough to do it. I have not worked with anyone so good and so young.". He was rewarded with the number 2 shirt for the 2006–07 season, a traditional first team number, rather than the number 45 he wore previously.

Richards lost his temper with manager Stuart Pearce in front of Sky TV cameras after he was substituted during the Blues' 1–0 defeat at the Madejski Stadiummarker against Reading on 11 September 2006. The teenage defender had to be calmed down by Paul Dickov after hurling his shirt out of the dug-out and following it up with a volley of abuse.

Richards' second City goal was also an injury time equalizer, this time in a 1–1 draw with Everton at Goodison Parkmarker on 30 September 2006. He started the 2007–08 season playing at centre-back. He put in a man of the match performance against Manchester United on the 19 August 2007. This prompted extremely high praise not only from the English media, but more importantly from his boss, former England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson. He was named Premier League Player of the Month for August.

He captained the team for the first time on 16 September 2007 against Aston Villa in the absence of teammate Richard Dunne, making Richards the youngest ever City first team captain, beating the 21-year-old Steve Redmond. In February 2008, he signed an improved contract to last until June 2013. At the end of February, he damaged cartilage in his right knee, putting him out for the rest of the season.

On 17 July 2008, Richards played his first full match back from injury in the 2–2 win against EB/Streymur in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Cup. On 24 August 2008, he was knocked unconscious after a clash of heads with teammate Tal Ben Haim. The match was stopped for eight minutes while he received treatment on the pitch. He was later given the all clear after a scan and he left hospital on the same day as the incident. He returned for the second-round UEFA Qualifying clash against FC Midtjylland on 28 August 2008, playing in a new holding midfield role.

On 22 March 2009 Richards netted his first of the 2008–09 season with a header in a man of the match performance giving a 1–0 victory over Sunderland at the City of Manchester Stadium. On 11 July 2009 Eurosport reported he had been diagnosed with swine flu while on holiday in Cyprusmarker. He was kept in isolation after his trip to Ayia Napamarker, but has now made a full recovery. Max Clifford claimed that Richards was the first known professional footballer to contract the H1N1 virus. However, it was reported on 2 July by the BBC that two Scottish footballers had caught the virus.In the 09-10 season, Micah Richards had two disallowed goals against Portsmouth and Fulham. In Manchester City's 4-2 win over Arsenal, Micah Richards headed in a goal from a Bellamy free kick. The ball hit the post, then went off Almunia and into the net. The goal was initially given as an own goal, however the goal was later given to Richards.

International career

In November 2006, Richards received a call-up to the England squad for a friendly against the Netherlands after playing only 28 professional club matches. He had previously won three caps for the England under-21 team, and was chosen to start the game on 15 November 2006 against the Netherlands after regular right back Gary Neville withdrew through injury. It made him England's youngest-ever defender, breaking the record previously held by Rio Ferdinand. He scored his first international goal in the qualifying-round match of Euro 2008 against Israel with a header on 8 September 2007. On 15 June 2009 Richards scored a header against Finland in the UEFA Under-21 Championship.

International Goals

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 8 September 2007 Wembley Stadiummarker, Londonmarker, England 2 – 0 3 – 0 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying


Club statistics

As of 24 September 2009.



References

  1. , p29
  2. {{cite news | title = Exclusive- Micah signs new deal | url = http://www.mcfc.co.uk/default.sps?syndicatorguid={7EB24EFC-E397-48B3-977A-BC40E4795300}&rmasiteinstanceguid={5B147D34-2BCF-448D-976C-AE1944ED09F5}&pagegid={DBD12D53-8346-431D-A04F-5D0F8664DE80}&newsid=349401 | publisher = Manchester City F.C. | date = 2006-07-25 | accessdate = 2006-11-16}}
  3. http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/11072009/58/premier-league-stranded-richards-swine-flu.html Premier League - Stranded Richards has swine flu


External links



2005–06 Manchester City Premier League 13 0 3 1 0 0 - - 16 1
2006–07 28 1 5 0 1 0 - - 34 1
2007–08 25 0 2 0 2 0 - - 29 0
2008–09 34 1 1 0 0 0 15 0 50 1
2009–10 5 0 0 0 1 0 - - 6 0
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