Manchester City defender Micah Richards eyes 2014 World Cup place with England

24-year-old confident of making right-back position his own

Manchester City defender Micah Richards is confident of establishing himself as England's top right-back.

The 24-year-old has won 13 caps since 2006 but has never established himself at international level and was frequently overlooked by former England boss Fabio Capello.

He impressed for City last season but missed out on Euro 2012 amid confusion over whether he was on new manager Roy Hodgson's standby list.

His chances of winning himself back into favour this term have been dashed by two lengthy injury lay-offs but, having now returned to action, is hopeful next year will be different.

Richards said: "Hopefully next season I will be injury-free and I can show everyone what I can do.

"It's a big challenge and it's a World Cup year.

"Every Englishman wants to be there. I look at my competition there and, in all honesty, I don't see players better than me.

"I feel I am good enough to be around that set-up. It is about being given a chance."

Liverpool's Glen Johnson is Hodgson's current first-choice right-back while Kyle Walker of Tottenham is also highly favoured.

Another Liverpool player, Martin Kelly, was selected for Euro 2012 instead of Richards after it was reported the City man had refused to be put on standby.

There may have been a breakdown in communication over that matter but Richards is not letting it bother him now.

He said: "He (Hodgson) had a hard decision to make in the summer when Johnson was playing fantastic.

"I was a little bit surprised when Kyle Walker didn't go injured and I didn't get the call. I was on standby.

"But that's how it goes. I can only prove them wrong by playing well and I have got to be playing in this team (City) before I can think about England. I have to take it one step at a time."

Richards, in only his fourth match back after an ankle problem, went down with a serious knee injury playing against Swansea in October and required an operation.

He did not return to action until last month's game against Wigan, after which manager Roberto Mancini suggested he was still not in good condition.

It seemed a harsh assessment by the Italian after such a long absence but Richards was much happier with his performance in Tuesday's 1-0 defeat of West Brom, for which he was made captain.

He said: "Obviously I've got some more fitness now, I feel a little bit sharper than my first time out."

But with Pablo Zabaleta having excelled throughout the season, Richards accepts he is likely to sit out Saturday's FA Cup final against Wigan.

He said: "I've not played any part in the FA Cup this season, so to play or even be on the bench I think would be harsh on the lads who have worked hard this season to get there."

PA

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