Richards, 20, hailed as the next great British defender when he burst on the scene as a teenager, has had a torrid few months and not added to his 11 England caps under current manager Fabio Capello.
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A reputation for concentrating more on fast cars and fancy earrings than football has gained currency.
at Anfield today having won just once on their travels this season, despite a £120million outlay on new players from manager Mark Hughes.
Robinho's scruffy and tie-less appearance as he boarded City's plane for their UEFA Cup tie last week has made the Brazilian the No1 target for any sniping by those disenchanted with the club's inconsistency, but Richards is not far behind.
Yet the youngster is adamant he will not change his personality.
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'Everybody calls me Mr Bling now, so apparently I am not even allowed to wear earrings any more,' he said. 'I've not come from much and I'm just enjoying myself. I'll still wear earrings. That's my personal choice - it doesn't matter what people say.
'As long as it's not affecting my football I don't see why it's a problem. When I was in the England team and wearing earrings and driving fast cars nobody had anything to say. Now they're saying I have lost my focus, but I'm giving everything.
'It's not about running into wealth. I am still grounded. 'Every youngster wears earrings and every little boy wants to drive a fast car, so now I've got the chance to do it, I am doing it.'
Richards accepts the criticism will stop if he can rediscover the form that made him England's youngest-ever defender on his debut aged 18 against Holland in 2006.
But his centre-half partnership with Richard Dunne wobbled so badly he has been shifted to right-back to restore his confidence.
'The expectation has weighed on me this season and I don't think I have been at my best,' he admitted. 'I've played in a number of positions but now I am happy at right-back. I try every week with 100 per cent effort.'
Defeats at Stoke and Portsmouth heaped pressure on Hughes but the trip to Anfield may suit his glamour players more.