The Manchester City man believes that he lacked the technique to excel at international level at 18, though says that he is now “10 times better” after moving on loan to Fiorentina
- excel – to do something very well or be highly skilled, and be better than most others
Micah Richards admits that he was “too young” to make his international debut at 18 years old, though the defender believes that he can resurrect his England career and be “10 times better” if given a second chance.
Richards, now 26, was the youngest ever defender to be called up for Three Lions duty when he broke through in 2006 but is currently on loan at Serie A side Fiorentina after failing to command a first-team role at Premier League champions Manchester City.
The defender thinks that too much pressure is placed on young England players at international level, though Richards – who last played for England in 2012 – feels that he can now offer Roy Hodgson a more composed presence in the back line.
“Sometimes, when English players do well at a young age, they get thrown in and get spat back out three of four years later,” he told BBC Sport’s ‘Football Focus’.
- spat – an argument about something not important
“I was brought through too young. If you put me in an England shirt now, I’d be 10 times better than I was.
“I had a couple of good seasons with City but, positionally, I wasn’t good enough. Technically, I was not international standard. I was using my pace and power to get me out of trouble.”
Richards has also questioned the selection process for England, suggesting that certain players fall out of favor as managers place their hopes on young stars.
“Some players get to a stage when they haven’t played for a couple of years and then they don’t pick them again,” he said. “They are always looking for the next new thing, which sometimes I don’t always see as right.
“Players should be picked on performance. Sometimes England think: ‘Let’s bring in the young new player and hype them up‘.”
The right-back – who can also fill in at centre-back – would “love to play for England again,” though says that it is up to Hodgson to come to Italy and watch how he performs for the Viola.
“If he decides to come out here, then good luck to him,” Richards added. “If he doesn’t, then I will do what I have to do.”