Richards targeting England return after Man City comeback

Micah Richards believes he can regain a place in the England set-up after making a successful return from injury for Manchester City, the Daily Mirror has reported.

England manager Roy Hodgson is facing a conundrum over who to pick as the national team’s right-back for the October World Cup qualifiers as Liverpool’s Glen Johnson will not be fit in time, and Tottenham Hotspur’s Kyle Walker looked out of sorts during the last round of international fixtures, the newspaper claims.

Richards’ first appearance of the season came in City’s convincing 5-0 win over Wigan Athletic in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday after he shook off a hamstring injury, and the 25-year-old is now targeting a place in future England squads, having made his senior England bow seven years ago.

Hodgson has yet to call on Richards since becoming England manager in spring 2012 but, the Mirror points out, Richards has been injured for much of that time, leaving the defender stuck on 13 caps. But Richards feels he can offer Hodgson something the likes of Johnson and Walker cannot.

I just need to get fit and play regularly,” Richards said, adding: “I want to go to Brazil in 2014 as much as the next man – if we qualify – and as I’m comfortable at both right-back and centre-half, I could give the manager a different option.

But I can’t help thinking that, unless there are injuries, it probably won’t happen,” Richards continued. “It’s all about opinions and, hopefully, Roy Hodgson will give me a chance to force my way back into the squad. Picking up niggling injuries isn’t helping my cause so I need to keep fit, do my best and see what happens.

Richards faces competition from Vincent Kompany, Joleon Lescott, Matija Nastasic and Martin Demichelis for a centre-back berth a club level, but only Pablo Zabaleta for the right-back spot under Manuel Pellegrini, and believes the manager sees him more as a full-back than a central defender, the newspaper noted.

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