Belfast Telegraph

Richards happy to make a new start

Micah Richards has no bad feelings towards Manchester City, but does resent the lack of playing time he was given by the Premier League champions.

Once touted as a permanent England fixture, Richards used to be a regular in City's defence, but saw his opportunities dwindle as the years passed, making just 10 appearances last season.

As a result, he made the decision to join Serie A side Fiorentina on deadline day, bringing to an end his 12-year stay with City.

And the 26-year-old insists it is a move he had to make, feeling Manuel Pellegrini did not give him a chance at the Etihad, with the Chilean preferring Pablo Zabaleta at right-back.

Speaking in the Daily Mail, he said: "I don't have any bad feelings towards the club. They put me on the map and gave me a chance when I was 17. But I do have bad feelings towards the playing time (I was given). For any player, when you're not playing it's frustrating. When Roberto Mancini was in charge, he would rotate the full-backs.

"When we won the league in 2012, I played more than (Pablo) Zabaleta. So, I feel as though I could have been given more chances to play (under Pellegrini). I felt like I had improved and that I could do it at that level."

Richards was a product of City's academy, something they are going to become more reliant on as Financial Fair Play takes its hold.

Richards, though, believes young players will find it increasingly difficult to make the breakthrough that he once did.

"It's going to be hard for them to come through," he said. "If you look at the squad now there's 22 international players. You're going to have to be extra special to get through. Hopefully, the new facilities they are building will help to bring young players through. It would be nice to see more coming from the academy, but the standard's pretty high now.

"The manager always said if you're good enough, you'll get a chance. I hope he sticks to his word. But I decided I wanted to go somewhere where I had the opportunity to be number one."

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