Micah Richards feels Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini doesn’t believe he is central defender -- even though he would like a chance to prove he can play there.
The England international right-back made his first appearance of the season when he captained City to a 5-0 win over Wigan in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday.
And he expressed his frustration that a hamstring problem had kept him out at a time when City were short of fit central defenders.
He told the club’s official programme: “It’s been annoying because [Matija] Nastasic was out and then Vinnie [Vincent Kompany] was ruled out so it would have been the perfect time for me to slot in at centre-back.
“But having said that, the manager didn’t play me there in pre-season maybe I’ll only play at right-back. I’m sure he knows I’ve played there before but maybe he doesn’t see me as a centre-back.”
Richards was a regular in the centre of City’s defence under Stuart Pearce and Sven-Goran Eriksson but Mark Hughes and Roberto Mancini have used him more as a full-back.
And Pellegrini, who wants two players for every position, signed Atletico Madrid’s Martin Demichelis to act as captain Kompany’s deputy and be the second right-sided centre-back, only for the Argentine to get injured.
Instead, the left-footed Joleon Lescott and midfielder Javi Garcia were used in Kompany’s stead when the Belgian was out injured.
And Richards added: “We have some great central defenders at the club with Vinnie, Matija and Joleon and we also have Martin Demichelis now, too, so I can’t see a time where I’ll get a run in central defence. Right-back is more realistic.”
Richards also feels an international recall is unlikely, even though two rivals for the right-back role, Glen Johnson and Phil Jones, have suffered injuries recently and another, Chris Smalling, struggled against City in Sunday’s Manchester derby.
He said: “I can't help thinking that, unless there are injuries, it probably won't happen. But it's all about opinions and I hope Roy Hodgson will give me the chance to force my way into the squad.”