Manchester City right-back Micah Richards has said that Fabio Capello's refusal to make him a part of the England set-up was the biggest blow of his professional career – "the lowest of the low you can go" – and that his emergence from that disappointment has left him convinced that nothing can knock his confidence again.
Richards, who performed confidently against the Netherlands on Wednesday after his recall by Stuart Pearce, said: "When you're in so young and get knocked down to the Under-21s, that's the lowest of the low you can go – and fighting my way back to get in the squad, that's the hardest thing I've ever done. So whether I'm in the squad or not, nothing can knock my confidence any more."
He credited his own club manager, Roberto Mancini, for giving him the psychological strength to get over the disappointment. "It's hard but you just have to get on with it. That's where mental toughness comes into it," Richards said. "In football, if you want to be a good player you have to be good upstairs as well and I think the manager [Mancini] has been excellent for me.
"He's said if you don't go in for the international team don't worry about it, there's just more chance to play. It keeps you fresh for Manchester City. A different manager is going to come in and maybe he will like you. [He said] just to enjoy it."