By William Wood | In General
Micah Richards has countered accusations that he has become ‘Mr Bling’ since his meteoric rise within football, stating that he has remained grounded and is still focused on improving his all-round game.
Having made his senior debut for Manchester City in 2005, the 20-year old has become a permanent fixture in the Premier League’s team, making over 100 appearances thus far.
The Birmingham-born youngster also fought his way into the England team, scoring his first senior goal against Israel in September 2007, and in February 2008 he signed a five-year contract to remain at the City of Manchester stadium.
In January it was misreported that Richards had splashed out over £5,000 for a Harley Davidson motorcycle despite him not having obtained a licence to ride it, though it was made clear soon-after that the money was spent as part of Shaun Wright-Phillips charity auction.
Similarly, reports have suggested that the defender’s new-found wealth has seen him distracted away from his dream of becoming one of the best players in the world, with any game in which his form dips used as ammunition by critics.
However, Richards has now moved to defend himself in light of such accusations, and he has reiterated the way in which his family and friends ensure he leads as a normal a life as possible off-the-field.
“It’s hard reading stories suggesting that I’ve forgotten where I came from and have become ‘Mr Big Time’, because it’s not true,” he said.
“I have bought a house and cars, but I think everybody would do the same in my position, and it doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about the friends, family and places that have helped me to become what I am today.
“I know that I can improve my game, and it’s something that I’ve been working on over the last few months with the coaches at City in order for me to fulfil my ambitions in football.
“When you’re not playing as well as you can, people will criticise you, and they can do that as they work hard to pay for tickets to each match.
“It’s not an excuse, but I’m still young and still learning the trade, and the number one passion in my life is football.
“Although I may not peak until my mid-to-late twenties, I want to be able to help City, and then hopefully England, to fulfil their potential.
“I’m encouraged to also pursue some of my other passions when I have free time, and I think it’s important for me to do that at this stage in my career as I handle all the other bits that come with being a footballer.
“I just wanted to make sure the City fans and everybody knows the truth, as sometimes what is said is far from it.”