In the weeks following the international retirement of John Terry everybody has had their names thrown in the ring as potential successors to the ‘throne’ if you want to call it that. Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka and Joleon Lescott seem the three main contenders for the two starting berths in the Chelsea player’s absence while Ryan Shawcross has been brought in to the fold, a few seasons to late, adding depth to cover the position.
Steven Caulker has also been named as a long-term successor and while agreement is widespread over his eventual international credentials his inexperience is an issue, and while he continues to excel in the under-21s he should remain there for now.
He removed himself from the standby list for the recent European Championships, something a certain brand of England supporter would call an inexcusable action. Yet Michael Carrick did the same and he has seen an international reprieve from Roy Hodgson.
Richards was magnificent in the heart of City’s defence against Sunderland at Saturday lunchtime and such an impressive performance can only give food for thought at the FA. His strength and pace are his main assets and then there is that alarmingly salmon-like spring he gets that sees him win almost all his headers.
People have questioned his tactical naivety in the past, a somewhat harsh assessment considering he is still barely 24 years of age. His flexibility allows him to play at full-back and out of all the contenders he is the most naturally talented for the position.
The first time I saw him play centre-back was against United when then Red Carlos Tevez was comprehensively marked out of the game by an even younger Micah who now stands on the precipice of an England pardon.
The qualifiers later this month have come to soon for a player recovering from injury but the first clean sheet for Manchester City this season has come with two English centre-backs defending the most deadly striker in the league in terms of percentages this season. Not even Steven Fletcher could beat another Englishman Joe Hart in the Manchester City goalmouth.
The issue is playing time, but after this performance he will surely have endeared himself to Mancini, his Lillian Thuram style defending would be impossible to ignore, and if plans to return to the three-man defence he has experimented with so far this season arise then Richards would work brilliantly on the right-hand side of Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott in a solid looking platform.
So if he gets the playing time there is absolutely no reason why Micah Richards cannot get his international career back on track. He has not given up hope on his England career and he may yet prove all those who gave up on him wrong.
What do you think about Micah Richards England chances?
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