Just where is Micah Richards?
The former Aston Villa captain was last seen in Steve Bruce’s very first game in charge of the club, and since then - nothing. The defender started the game, but was taken off due to injury in the second-half. He’s barely been seen on the first-team squad sheet since.
Richards is a reviled figure by the Villa Park fanbase. His boisterous antics after an FA Cup tie against Wycombe were in the right heart, but didn’t come at the right time - as he confronted a set of angry fans to let them know that his doomed Villa side were trying, at the very least, to not get relegated.
Micah Richards hasn’t focused for Villa much at all - and a recent article in the Mail highlights a rather terrible medical issue that is holding Micah back. It’s the same injury as Ledley King, which basically meant that King, the cartilage-free captain of Tottenham, couldn’t ever train and had to have playing situations tailored for him and his steep talents. It’s the same with Richards - who will risk something serious if he is to play.
Steve Bruce has refused to pick Richards for the first-team for exactly that reason. Despite the defender working hard in training, impressing and arguing with Bruce about his spot, he can’t be picked. It’s a weird tragedy for the player. If he was to be picked, he could collapse mid-game and put Villa back a player. If he isn’t picked, you’re essentially throwing a massive squad influence to the side.
Influence? It’s said that Richards has played a large part in the development of Villa’s youngsters - helping them out behind the scenes when he didn’t have to. Jack Grealish, Callum O’Hare, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Keinan Davis have all benefited from Richards’ presence. The article in the Mail even found a source who spoke at length about Richards’ personality - that he’s the nicest bloke at Villa.
The worst thing about Richards is his heavy contract - especially for a player who can’t play. Is that his fault though? Or is it that of Tom Fox and Tim Sherwood who were overly-eager to bring a player in, and pay him far too well? Richards attempted to leave the club for West Ham United, but Aston Villa blocked the move. Since then, no interest has stirred in the player.
It’s very easy to say that Micah was the worst signing Villa made that season, that he was the worst that happened - but the player was only really ever guilty of being Alan Hutton. The exact same characteristics that certain fans praise the Scotsman for, are the same things that Micah can do very well. He’s a buccaneering defender that will drag the team forward and try to make things happen - defensive line be damned!
His Villa team were smashed to pieces every single week - and despite the presence of Joleon Lescott, I find it incredibly hard to focus on a single person, rather than the whole forsaken team. One player wasn’t going to drag us down to the Championship, it was the whole toxic thing - a sinking ship since 2012. After all that’s said and done, it’d be difficult to hold the position that Richards is anything but the type of professional that Aston Villa need; but the one they can’t afford to play. Truth be told, he’s likely a large reason why the team spirit is so good at Villa right now. Didn’t see that coming, did you?