Position: Right-Back / Centre-Back
Joined Club: 2001
Debut: 22nd October 2005 v Arsenal
Micah has been at Manchester City since the age of 14, making him the current longest serving player at the club, and he's only 23. Although making his debut as a sub against Arsenal in October 2005, it wasn't until 12th February 2006 that he made his full debut against Charlton.
Needless to say he burst onto the scene, full of confidence and with bags of potential, tipped for future greatness. In November 2006 he was called up to and made his debut in the England squad in a friendly against the Netherlands just 12 months and 23 days after his full club debut making him England's youngest ever defender. He is also the youngest City player ever to be given the captains armband.
Richards is widely known for his powerful and athletic physique, he is an absolute powerhouse and very few in the league can match him for brute strength or his ability to leap above others to head the ball.
Early, or should I say earlier in his career there were many questions asked about his concentration and positional sense and it isn't until recently that those questions have started to be silenced, partly due to the style of play Mancini employs sees Richards way out of position. Thankfully, Richards has always posessed enough pace to make up for for this more often than not.
As was largely expected after such a good start, his form tailed off for a while and he didn't appear to be living up to his initial hype and began to write him off. What many failed to acknowledge though was that Richards had made his debut at just 17 years old and he was, and is, still very young for a defender and had plenty of time to regain his form.
The arrival of German international Jerome Boateng in the summer of 2010 seemed to spark Richards back into life. And although he only featured in 18 league games with a couple of injuries also hampering his game time (30 games in all competitions), he pushed out Boateng and held off Zabaleta, reaffirming himself as the 1st choice right back for the 2011-12 season ahead. It is yet to be seen how many games he gets though as Mancini will no doubt rotate the squad often enough to keep everyone fresh and on their toes.
He has started the current season in great form and seems to be relishing the style of play Mancini uses at City as both full-backs have the license to get forward often providing extra width down the flanks. His return to form last season even prompted Brazilian legend Carlos Alberto to declare that Richards "holds the keys to the hopes of England for this coming generation." High praise indeed.
Richards had been recalled to the England squad for a friendly against the Netherlands (deja vu?) but the recent riots forced the FA to cancel the game on grounds of safety, and rightly so. He has however been included in the squad for the Euro 2012 qulifiers against Bulgaria and Wales. If Richards continues as he has started this season there is no way Capello can ignore him again any longer than he has done.