Despite Micah Richards' fine form for Manchester City this season, manager Roberto Mancini yesterday said that his defender "can improve more" and offered a psychological explanation of his absence from the England team.
"He has good quality but sometimes Micah is too strong and he thinks he can play [at] 50 per cent," the City manager said. "If Micah plays to 100 per cent, for me he can become one of the top full-backs in Europe.
"His body is on the pitch, but his mind is left at home. Sometimes. For this, he can improve – if he can remember to pick up his brain. I say this because I love Micah, like all the players do ... He's strong, he's quick, he's strong in the air, he can play different positions." Of City's visitors today, Newcastle, Mancini said: "They've improved a lot and defend very well."