Richards hits back at critics

22 February 2009 11:59
Manchester City defender Micah Richards has hit back at suggestions that his lifestyle is the reason for his poor performances this season.

The 20-year-old has slipped well below the high standards he has set himself since breaking into the City first team as a raw 17-year-old.

Many have criticised Richards' party lifestyle for his dip in form, with the full-back regularly accepting invitations to DJ at nightclubs at weekends.

After signing a new five-year deal, which saw his salary rise considerably, last season the youngster has also been accused of living the life of the stereotypical footballer with the fast car and the jewellery earning him the nickname 'Mr Bling' at City.

"The expectations have weighed heavily on me this season and I haven't been at my best," he told the Sunday Mirror.

"That has obviously got people talking about what I do when I'm not playing football and it's true that I do get invites to the odd party here and there.

"I am well aware that my critics call me Mr Bling and stuff like that. But the cars I drive and the jewellery I wear does not affect my football one bit, so I'm finding it hard to understand what the problem is.

Easy target"I was wearing an earring and driving fast cars when I was in the England squad and nobody cared because I was playing well.

"But because I haven't been at the top of my game people look for easy targets. To those people who say I've lost my focus I'd like to tell them that I am giving it everything.

"Every youngster wears an earring and wants to drive a fast car. I am not going to stop enjoying my life because a few people don't like it.

"As long as things don't affect my football, and they're not, I'll continue to do it."

Richards insists that failing to hold a settled position in the side this year has affected his performances, but he is adamant that his family would not allow him to get carried away with his new lifestyle.

"I'm not trying to make excuses but I have had a few injuries and this season I have played in a lot of positions because that is what the manager has asked of me," he added.

"My form has suffered, but I feel I am now getting there again now I am playing regularly at right-back again.

"I can assure everyone I am giving it 100 per cent effort. My dad will always make sure I never forget my roots."

Source: SKY_Sports