Micah Lincoln Richards (born 24 June 1988) is an English former professional footballer who played as a right back. He played in the Premier League and English Football League for Manchester City and Aston Villa, and in Serie A for Fiorentina.
|Full name||Micah Lincoln Richards|
|Date of birth||24 June 1988|
|Place of birth||Birmingham, England|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Playing position||Right back|
|2014–2015||→ Fiorentina (loan)||10||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Richards began his career at Manchester City, making 245 appearances across all competitions in ten seasons, winning a Premier League title and an FA Cup. After a season on loan at Fiorentina in Italy's Serie A, he joined Aston Villa in 2015. He played 31 times for Villa until October 2016, failing to appear afterwards before retiring in July 2019.
On making his full England debut in November 2006, Richards became the youngest defender to be called up to the England squad. He won 13 caps for England between 2006 and 2012, and played in the Great Britain squad for the 2012 Olympic football tournament.
Richards was born in Birmingham, West Midlands, and played for the Leeds United youth system as a striker, but he was released when he was around eight years old. He also represented Leeds Schools FA (Leeds City Boys) at a young age. He later played for the Oldham Athletic youth system, moving to Manchester City as a 14-year-old, with Oldham reputedly having a 20% sell on clause. In July 2001 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 the programme, with his father Lincoln actually running a Brazilian Soccer School in Chapeltown, Leeds.
He made his first-team debut on 22 October 2005 against Arsenal, coming on as a substitute for Danny Mills in the 85th minute of a 1–0 defeat at Highbury. His first goal came on 19 February 2006, heading in a last-minute corner to earn a 1–1 draw away to Aston Villa in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
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 Stadium. Throughout 2007, Richards was linked with a move away from City, 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." Richards was nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award at the end of the 2006–07 season.
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. On 17 July 2008, Richards played his first full match back from injury in the 2–0 win against EB/Streymur in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League. Richards was nominated for a second time for the PFA Young Player of the Year award at the end of the 2007–08 season.
On 22 March 2009, he scored his first goal 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. In July 2009, he was diagnosed with swine flu while on holiday in Cyprus, and was kept in isolation after returning from Ayia Napa. Richards started for City as they beat Stoke City 1–0 at Wembley Stadium in the 2011 FA Cup Final.
Manchester City won the Premier League in 2011–12, and Richards was nominated for the club's Player of the Year award. Richards finished the season with five assists – the most of any defender in the Premier League. City won the league again in 2013–14, but with Richards having lost his place in the team to Pablo Zabaleta he made only two league appearances and missed out on a Premier League winner's medal.
On 1 September 2014, Richards signed for Fiorentina on a season-long loan. The loan fee was £3.5m rising to £4.7m should the transfer had made permanent at the end. Seventeen days after signing, Richards made his Fiorentina debut in a UEFA Europa League match against Guingamp, coming on as a substitute for former City teammate Stefan Savić in a 3–0 win. On 28 September, Richards made his first Serie A start for Fiorentina against Torino. Richards chose not to remain at Fiorentina; he only made 10 appearances in the league and a further seven in European competitions as manager Vincenzo Montella switched to a 3–5–2 formation after Richards had arrived.
On 10 June 2015, Richards was released by Manchester City.
On 17 June 2015, Richards signed for Aston Villa on a free transfer after agreeing a four-year contract. He was named their on-field captain for the upcoming Premier League season on 5 August, and on his debut three days later, Villa won 1–0 away to AFC Bournemouth. On 28 November, he scored his first goal for Villa, heading an equaliser in a 2–3 home loss to Watford.
He made his first start of the 2016–17 Championship season in a 1–1 draw at home to Wolves in October 2016, which was also Steve Bruce's first match in charge of the club, but was sidelined with a knee injury until the new year. He did not make a single appearance in 2017–18, with Bruce attributing that to consistent lack of fitness. Despite speculation that Richards would leave Aston Villa before the transfer deadline for the 2018–19 season, he remained at the club, although he was not considered for first team selection and spent another season without making an appearance.
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 match 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 UEFA Euro 2008 qualifier against Israel on 8 September 2007 at Wembley Stadium. Richards played regularly during Steve McClaren's time as England manager, making 11 appearances. However, following McClaren's sacking in November 2007, Richards fell out of favour. In Fabio Capello's four years in charge of the England team, Richards played only once, as a substitute against France in November 2010. Upon Capello's resignation in February 2012, Richards spoke of his frustration: "To be frozen out of your international side is hard to take sometimes. Everyone wants to play for their international team, especially when you're playing in a team that's doing so well. I didn't get a chance under Capello. I don't know why. I always asked the question, but I never got an answer."
For most of his exile from the senior team, Richards was still young enough to be eligible for the under-21s, and played regularly. He was called up for the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship held in Sweden, where he scored the winning goal against Finland as England went through the group stages undefeated. England reached the final of the competition, but lost 4–0 to Germany. Richards played in four of England's five matches, including the final. During qualifying for the 2011 tournament, Richards captained the team. However, he had to withdraw from the squad for the finals due to injury.
Following Capello's resignation in February 2012, Richards gained an immediate recall to the England team. Caretaker coach Stuart Pearce had coached Richards at both Manchester City and for the under-21s, and selected him to play against the Netherlands. However, when new coach Roy Hodgson named his squad for UEFA Euro 2012, Richards was omitted. Hodgson explained his decision by saying "It was going to be one of Phil Jones or Micah Richards and I chose Jones."
Great Britain Olympic football teamEdit
On 28 June 2012, Richards was confirmed as one of the three over-aged players selected by manager Stuart Pearce for Great Britain at the 2012 Summer Olympics, alongside Craig Bellamy and Ryan Giggs.
Richards is of Kittitian descent through his father who moved from Basseterre to England in 1960s. His first cousin, Atiba Harris is also a professional footballer and long time captain of the Saint Kitts and Nevis national football team.
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Other||Total|
|Manchester City||2005–06||Premier League||13||0||3||1||0||0||—||—||16||1|
|Fiorentina (loan)||2014–15||Serie A||10||0||2||0||—||7[b]||0||—||19||0|
|Aston Villa||2015–16||Premier League||24||1||3||1||1||0||—||—||28||2|
- England score listed first, score column indicates score after each Richards goal.
|1||8 September 2007||Wembley Stadium, London, England||6||Israel||3–0||3–0||UEFA Euro 2008 qualification|||
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