Richards keen to make senior England return after impressive U-21 display

Micah Richards has targeted a return to the England senior squad after a commanding performance for the Under-21 side which will have caught the eye of Fabio Capello.

The Manchester City defender found the net as Stuart Pearce's side recorded a 2-1 friendly win over Slovenia at the KC Stadium on Tuesday evening. But it was the display of Richards' all-round ability which will ensure that he will not be kept out of the Italian coach's plans for too long.

As well as getting his name on the scoresheet, and being solid in defence, Richards showed the kind of maturity that both Capello and Pearce have demanded when moving between the respective squads.

"I thought I did OK and obviously got man of the match but that wasn't important – it was about the team," Richards said. "He [Pearce] told me to treat this game like any other game and get the win, which we did, and that is all that mattered in the end. But it's definitely my aim to be in the seniors – that's where I want to be – hopefully I can take my form out of tonight and Mr Capello was watching and has seen what I can do.

"Last season I picked up a knee injury which was a bit frustrating but I am back now with the Under-21s and hopefully I can do all I can to push back up to the seniors. I always feel like I am knocking on the door but last year I got injured and that affected me."

Richards continued: "He [Capello] has probably not seen the best of me yet – I don't think anyone has – so all I can do now is work hard and give 100 per cent for my club and try to get back in the seniors.

"I thought I got off to a good start last season winning player of the month and then I averaged out a bit. This season I'll be giving 100 per cent and make sure I play the best I can in every game and hopefully I'll be straight back in there. It is a big year for me. As long as I can stay injury-free there is nothing stopping me from doing well this season and pushing back into that England squad."

Pearce has encouraged Richards to set himself a goals target for the season after a first half against Slovenia where he could have had a hat-trick. And the defender said he is keen to work on all aspects of his game to enhance his development.

"I'm keen to improve my all-round game which will make me a better player," he said. "We practise some of those things in training and I try to do the best I can. I don't just want to work on the defensive side of my game, I want to work on the attacking side as well.

"I've got a pretty good leap, I attack the ball aggressively. It's one of the strong assets to my game. I want to play my football and play to the best of my ability, to go out there and enjoy it."

John Carew, meanwhile, is backing his Aston Villa team-mates Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Young to become big names for England despite being snubbed by Fabio Capello for last night's friendly against the Czech Republic.

Agbonlahor and Young were both part of the England squad at various stages last season with the latter making a couple of substitute appearances for his country.

And Carew sees the attacking duo's exclusion from the final warm-up game before the World Cup qualifiers get under way against Andorra and Croatia next month as a temporary setback.

The Norway international said: "I can definitely see Gabby and Ashley breaking into the England side this season. They can be as good as they want.

"They have great potential. They have everything in front of them. They are both young with fantastic skills and they can both succeed and go a long way in the game.

"It is the start of a new era for England and there is a good generation of players coming through. I think they will be very strong in the years to come – and Gabby and Ashley can be part of that."

Carew, who signed a new contract along with Agbonlahor last week, said: "The good thing is the players want to learn. Gabby has improved so much in just my time here [since January 2007] and I am sure he will continue to get even better.

"He can be as good as he wants to be and there is definitely more to come from him. I also think all the young players at Villa will reap the benefits of playing in Europe this season.

"It's a different way of playing compared to the domestic league, different challenges, and will be of great experience for the boys which will stand them in good stead."

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
film
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Environment
The vaquita is being killed by fishermen trying to catch the totoaba fish, which is prized in China
environmentJust 97 of the 'world's cutest' sea mammals remain
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?