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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 5, 2007

Richards all set to sign new City deal

Micah Richards has admitted playing regular football with Manchester City - rather than being part of a rotation system at one of the top four clubs - will enhance his chances of becoming a first choice with England. Richards is set to sign a new contract with City once his father and advisor Lincoln returns from setting up a soccer school in Ethiopia. He has been linked with moves to Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal after making rapid strides forward during the past 12 months. But the attraction of playing every game under Sven-Goran Eriksson at Eastlands is a big factor in Richards wanting to remain with the club. He would have seen Shaun Wright-Phillips make his move from City to Chelsea and suffer two years of frustration as mainly a bit-part player before finally emerging from the shadows this season. Now the two are set to link up down the right flank for England in their vital Euro 2008 qualifier against Israel at Wembley on Saturday. Richards said: 'I think it is important to play regularly at club level to help you with England. I think it is vital. If you are playing week in and week out, you are getting the best performances out of yourself. 'When you go to a big club, a top four side, and you seem to be rested 10 games out of 20, as a youngster like me coming through I don't think that is ideal. 'I think it is better for me to be playing week in and week out for my England chances. 'That was an influence in my decision to stay at Manchester City. I was playing week in and week out and I still am playing week in and week out. That is important for me now. 'I always have my dad by my side for guidance and he said `I think you are better off staying where you are to go forward with your England career'.' Long term, Richards wants to play as a central defender for England - the role he operates in primarily for City. But his confidence and faith in his ability is such that he is hoping to keep first-choice right-back Gary Neville out of the side when he returns to fitness if he maintains his present form. Richards impressed at right-back in the recent friendly international against Germany and set up England's goal for Frank Lampard. He said: 'If I am playing 100%, I feel I am doing well enough to stay in there. I know Gary Neville is a legend but the way I see it is if you are playing well, you should keep your place. 'I don't see it as a case of myself just keeping the right-back place warm for him. I feel I've done well enough to stay in. But it is up to the manager to decide.' There is much debate over whether midfielder Steven Gerrard should be given a pain-killing injection to enable him to play against Israel with a broken toe. But Richards admits he would have no hesitation going under the needle if he was in a similar position to enable him to play for his country. He said: 'Would I have a pain-killing injection to play? Yes, for your country, you've got to haven't you? Previous players have before. 'You would do anything to play for your country. I certainly would.' Israel are expected to adopt the defensive-minded tactics that frustrated England in the goalless draw in Tel Aviv but Richards is confident of breaking them down - with the support of a full house at Wembley. He said: 'I think we should go out and play our usual football, not worry about what they are doing and do what we are good at. That should get us three points. 'This time we will have 85,000 home fans behind us which is key in these sort of games. 'I am sure they will be with us. We have got to go out and show them we can play attacking football like we are capable of. Then we should be all right.'

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