Man City's Richards keen to stay and fight

January 17, 2007

Micah Richards today declared his intention to remain at Manchester City 'for years to come' and set his sights on ending the club's 31-year wait for silverware.

GettyImagesIn-form Micah Richards battles for the ball with Villa's Gary Cahill and Gareth Barry.

The 18-year-old England defender, who has been linked with a big-money move to Chelsea, joined team-mate Joey Barton in pronouncing his commitment to the Eastlands club.

Barton, who like Richards signed a new four-year deal at the start of the season, last night said there was no chance of him leaving City despite interest from home town club Everton.

And Richards followed suit, insisting: 'I'm a Manchester City player, so hopefully I'll be here for years to come.

'Joey is getting better and better and I thought he was outstanding last night against Sheffield Wednesday.

'Like he said, he will be here for years to come and I'm the same.

'The club is going forward all the time and we're unbeaten in six games.

'Hopefully we can keep it going and have a good run in the FA Cup.'

Richards' stock has risen since he made an assured debut for England during the friendly against Holland in Amsterdam last November.

The Birmingham-born teenager's performances have also attracted admiring glances from Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who could certainly use Richards' defensive qualities at present.

Yet Richards says he remains unfazed by speculation linking him with a move to Stamford Bridge and insisted he is happy to focus on playing for City.

'I'll just concentrate on my football and let my feet do the talking,' he added.

'I love it here and we're making progress all the time. I'm enjoying my football and playing in different positions, so I'm learning more and more about playing in the Premiership and that can only help my development.'

Richards last night helped City into the FA Cup fourth round with the 2-1 victory against Sheffield Wednesday.

Yet 38 years have passed since the Blues last won the famous trophy.

Moreover, they have not lifted any domestic silverware since winning the League Cup in 1976 after beating Newcastle at Wembley.

The success of bitter rivals Manchester United has added to the pain for the club's long-suffering supporters.

However, Richards believes all that could change this season.

He added: 'Last season we were unlucky, losing to West Ham in the quarter-finals, but there's no reason why we can't go all the way this season.

'We've got over 40,000 fans supporting us every week and they're desperate for success.

'They deserve to see the club win a trophy and we're the same as players. Hopefully we can do it for them this season.

'There's a lot of talent in the side and I think we're going to keep improving.'

Stuart Pearce's team will host Southampton in the FA Cup fourth round and Richards admits there is reason for optimism.

'Let's give Southampton some respect, they're a tough side, but certainly we'll be looking to get through to the next round and see how far we can go,' he said.

England have a friendly against Spain next month before returning to the European Championship qualifying campaign against Israel in March, and Richards added: 'Hopefully I'll be involved again. I really enjoyed playing against Holland and I felt comfortable there.'