Micah Richards determined to seize second England chance

 

Micah Richards is hoping to make up for four years of frustration under Fabio Capello by forcing his way into England's Euro 2012 squad.

The Manchester City defender made his first start for his country since October 2007 in Wednesday night's friendly international with Holland at Wembley.

Richards was constantly overlooked by Capello despite his form for City and versatility in being able to play at centre-back and also right-back - the role he occupied in the 3-2 defeat by the Dutch.

"Now that I've played, I'll be honest and say it wasn't nice (not to get selected) especially when you play in a team that finished third in the Premier League last season," the 23-year-old said.

"We're top of the league now and, when you're still getting overlooked, it is hard but I've got the chance now again.

"Every player wants to play in the major tournaments and it's up to me now just to keep my form up for the rest of the season and, whoever the manager will be, hope they select me.

"I'm still a young lad trying to learn all the time but I'm delighted to be playing again for my country.

"It feels like I'm starting all over again, like another debut, after so long since I played for England.

"It is over four years since I made a start and the last time I wore the shirt at Wembley was the second half in a friendly against France.

"Different managers like different players and all I can do is keep working hard and, if I do go on and win the league and my form is still good, then fingers crossed."

Richards knows the qualities of interim manager Stuart Pearce from his time as City boss and with the England Under-21 side and is full of praise for the way he has handled the squad.

He said: "Stuart Pearce has been quality. The last three days he has been inspirational with the boys because he has been to the tournaments, he knows what it's like.

"A lot of people say he is an inexperienced manager but he has been a player, he knows exactly how it feels.

"When he gives the players a talk, we can really relate to him."

Richards admits he does not like being pigeon-holed as a utility player but will happily accept that role if he is on the plane to Poland and Ukraine.

He said: "I've played right-back for the last two years but I feel I can play in both positions.

"I don't want to be used as a utility player but if asked, I can play both positions.

"Hopefully that will be an advantage for me going into the tournament and my attacking instincts can hopefully be a big weapon this summer. But it's just down to whether they pick me or not."

PA

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