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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 15, 2006

Terry backs Richards to impress against Holland

Micah Richards has already impressed England captain John Terry as he prepares to make his debut in tonight's friendly international against Holland.

The Manchester City right-back will become his country's youngest ever defender at 18 years and 144 days as England look to regain their pride in the Amsterdam ArenA after the dismal 2-0 defeat in Croatia.

Richards gets his chance because of Gary Neville's recurring calf problem and will look to stake a claim to become part of Steve McClaren's long-term plans.

And the teenager, who unwittingly shot to prominence after uttering a four-letter expletive on live television following his equaliser against Aston Villa in last season's FA Cup, is oozing confidence according to Terry.

Terry said: 'Micah has been very good. When I came first into the England squad I was really nervous and excited at the same time, but you see the young players coming in now and they are so confident in their own ability.

'Micah is full of confidence. He is beating people in training, getting down the wing, putting crosses in and defending fantastically well in one-on-one situations.

'We all know he is a great athlete but he is great on the ball as well and great defensively. It is really refreshing to see.'

Terry acknowledges that England owe the fans a positive performance after the shambles in Zagreb when they struggled to come to terms with a 3-5-2 formation.

He added: 'The fans were frustrated afterwards because they know we have got the squad of players to get results and go to places like Croatia and win games.

'I understand the fans. They were kept behind after the game and as we came out afterwards things were spoken and shouted out. It is not nice but we could understand their frustration.

'We were feeling exactly the same as them. They were the ones who had paid for their tickets and travelled halfway around the world supporting us and we do need to get back to winning ways and repay them on Wednesday.'

Terry is aware England will have to keep close tabs on Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt to claim a morale-boosting win.

The Chelsea skipper added: 'Kuyt is very difficult to play against. He likes to hide behind the defender and comes short, links up with the likes of Arjen Robben and is very strong.

'I played against him pre-season when he was still at Feyenoord and was very impressed and I wasn't surprised when Liverpool snapped him up.

'He is very good in the air, strong physically and a good runner and can finish well as we've seen.'