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Eriksson was the exception, a manager perhaps not as effusive about Richards as Sir Bobby Robson, who spoke of him becoming "our best defender since Bobby Moore", but one who imbued him with a mountain of self-belief."He just gave me some sort of confidence that I've never, ever seen before – it was ridiculous! It wasn't as easy with Hughes, who questioned Richards' positioning and physique, though he did initially make him his captain.Eriksson, who was Mancini's early managerial mentor, says a coach cannot rule through fear, though there is a suspicion that it is the device which Mancini has used. He makes sure that if you make a mistake and you make it again you are out of the team. There appear to be other strategies too, including late-night texts with the next day's training times to keep players on their toes."We normally get the text the night before," Richards confirms. Maybe that's just to do with the weather." Yet Richards also provides evidence of Mancini malleability when required."When he first arrived we [trained] in the afternoons and that was just bringing a culture from his old club," he says.The past is never far away for Micah Richards – not even now, at the richest football club in the world, where, as of yesterday, he was the last remnant of the fabled youth ranks assembled in the days before the money arrived.The first time we talked, five years ago, it was Richards making the call, from a train, aware that I was investigating the death of his boyhood friend, Daniel Nelson – who at the age of 18 took his own life in a Young Offenders' Institution – and wanting to offer his own words.They'll tell you at City that there's no-one quite like Richards at public events, and the sight of him grinning through a session at the club's city-centre store in which he and Nigel de Jong sign their way through back tattoos, baby-grows and shirts, does bear out the sense that he knows there is another world out there, beyond the store's doors in the rain-drenched Manchester night.
Both of your feet might, quite reasonably, leave the ground if you leap into a challenge, he says, so dismissals like Kompany's red card has left players having to rethink the art of the tackle entirely.
All the lads are playing Fifa 2012 on the Xbox but I think it's too easy to score so it just makes me throw the controls and I don't play it any more now!
If it were possible to mine it, bottle it and put it on sale to the highest bidder even the eye-watering wealth of Manchester City's munificent benefactor Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan might be under threat THERE may have been times this season when Ellis Short was wondering if he had been sold a pup, so it was a pity he was not at the Stadium of Light yesterday to witness just what Niall Quinn had promised him.
"Danny told me the artist." Richards carried it on his i Pod for months and still keeps it. "You can either go down that path he took or do what I've done.
There's no in-betweens where we came from."The two boys' paths certainly diverged radically when their carefree days in the rough streets of Chapeltown, in Leeds, came to an end, though the gilded environment into which Richards was thrust has offered precious few "in-betweens" either.
"It's a bit disappointing for me that we all grew up together and haven't stayed together.