Richards eager to be key part of City's upward surge

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The Independent Online

The Manchester City defender Micah Richards has aspirations to be the club's full-time captain but first he hopes to be able to help manager Sven Goran Eriksson take the team to the next level.

Richards has been one of the stars of the season so far, both for City and England, while Eriksson has guided his new side to third in the Premier League after taking over in the summer.

The 19-year-old defender, who returned from two Euro 2008 victories to be handed the captaincy in Richard Dunne's absence for the 1-0 victory over Aston Villa earlier this month, has been touted as a transfer target for the top clubs but he is just concentrating on helping to keep City in touch with the league leaders.

"Sven is trying to take the club forward and I just want to be a part of that," he said. "He made me captain, which for a 19-year-old is a bit of an honour. It is nice to be around the camp and hopefully we can take the club forward. We have got a good team and it is just stringing some results together now and being a bit more consistent."

Richards would like to be considered as a future City captain but he admitted he has more things to think about at present. "I don't know if I could handle that pressure every week but it was good we got the win [against Villa]," he added. "It was very good experience and hopefully I can be captain one day."

Richards' performances for England in the recent Euro 2008 qualifiers – including a goal in the 3-0 victory over Israel – brought him praise but he has tried to play down the hype.

"When people are singing your praises it does give you a bit of confidence but when you come back you have to stay grounded," he said. "You don't want to get too big for your boots. You come back [from international duty] and get back to work and go out and try to win for your club on a Saturday."

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