Manchester City defender Micah Richards believes centre-back Joleon Lescott has proved once again just how good he is.
Despite being one of City's most consistent performers in last season's title-winning campaign, Lescott has been kept on the bench in some key fixtures this season. That prompted speculation that boss Roberto Mancini had lost faith in the England international, although the Italian has stressed he remains an important player and is thinking of the bigger picture.
After sitting out last week's Barclays Premier League win at Fulham and the midweek Champions League draw with Borussia Dortmund, Lescott returned and gave an assured performance in a 3-0 win over Sunderland. Richards told City TV: "He is a quality defender."
He continued: "A lot of people don't understand how good he is - well, people do because he is playing for England - but he really is a top-class centre-back, one of the best in the league.
"I think last season and at the start of this season he has shown that."