After recently returning from injury Micah Richards is not expecting to play in this Saturday’s FA Cup Final but has given his full support to the team. Richards is evidently short of match fitness and any selection in the Final would seem unjust given the excellent form of fellow right-back Pablo Zabaleta this season. But Richards is philosophical about his situation. He said:
I’ve not played any part in the FA cup this season, so to play or even be on the bench I think would be harsh on the lads who have worked hard this season to get there. I’ll be there supporting them and I’ll travel down with the boys and wish them all the best. I think they deserve it. We haven’t played the best football this season – certainly not like last season – but I think we definitely deserve to win the FA Cup.
After enduring a torrid time with injuries this season Richards has admitted that it has been tough getting back into the groove of playing regularly. Whilst on Olympic duty last summer, Richards picked up an injury which meant he missed the start of the season. When he returned in October he only played four games before injuring his knee which required surgery. He made his return against Wigan last month and also featured against West Brom on Tuesday. He said:
I’m fitter now and I feel a little bit sharper than my first time out against Wigan in the league. To be fair, I’d only played 90 minutes, and 60 minutes at centre-half with the reserves. You know the running you have got to do in this team at full-back is hard, and I did find it hard! I thought we played extremely well and kept the ball well at various times of the game, but I think the three points was all that mattered with Chelsea breathing down our necks.
As City’s current longest serving player Richards is positive about the future and is ready for a battle with Zabaleta for a place in the starting eleven.
I have been here 10 years now and I want to be here another 10 years, whether playing or in the squad. I just want to be here and will only keep giving 100%. Of my competition, Pablo Zabaleta has had an outstanding season, so I will have to bide my time, but when given my chance I will try to take it.
It is great to have Richards back. On his day he is the finest right back in the league and the battle between him and Zabaleta will be an intriguing one. With little to choose between the two, City will be blessed with arguably the best two right backs in the league, if they can both stay fit.
Written by Robert Toole