Thursday, November 01, 2007

Micah Richards injury good news for Gary Neville? And why he may sign for Chelsea...

England manager Steve McClaren and Man City fans will be desperately hoping that Micah Richards knee injury which he sustained against Bolton during the Blues Carling Cup win isn't that serious. The young defender is set to have a scan on Thursday.

However, with Gary Neville set to return to action for United this week, it could well be a case of good timing as far as England are concerned as they still have a glimmer of hope of qualifying for the Euro 2008 finals if results go their way, for that to happen Israel need to draw with Russia and England need to beat Croatia.

Neville has been out for a long time though and he will no doubt need a few games under his belt before he gets back to something like full match-fitness. McClaren might well decide not to take any chances on either player if there's any doubt and if that's the case he could well opt to play Wes Brown or even Phil Neville at right back.

A lot fans and the media have been waxing lyrical about Richards since he burst onto the scene, many advocate that his best position is in the centre of defence where he plays for City. Personally, I'm not so sure about that. Against Arsenal recently at the Emirates stadium Van Persie gave him a lot to think about and eventually started to pull the strings which led to victory and against Chelsea at the weekend City were destroyed by Drogba et al.

From what I've seen, Richards has a lot to learn about playing in the centre of defence, all too often he relies on his pace to get him out of trouble on those occasions when he finds himself on the wrong side of forwards. This ok in the Premier League because Richards will get away with it most of the time, but at international level, he wont get away it. Against Russia recently in that 2-1 defeat, Richards played right-back and at times he was given the run-around by the hugely impressive Andrei Arshavin (were you watching Fergie?).

We all know what a talent Richards is, but he's by no means the finished article.
Regarding his future, City have been desperately trying to persuade the player to sign a new and improved contract. There's been a lot of rumours that he will end up signing for either Arsenal or United. Personally I don't see that happening. For one thing, Wenger would not pay silly money for a defender, no matter how good he is. City would not allow Richards to join the Reds - end of story.

That would leave only Chelsea or perhaps Liverpool. For me, if he doesn't sign that new deal, the only place he can go is Chelsea, who may well be soon ready to replace John Terry who is picking up far too many injuries of late.

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