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Last Updated: Friday, 25 January 2008, 14:19 GMT
Micah Richards column
Micah Richards
By Micah Richards
Manchester City and England defender

The week before Christmas, I found myself the subject of some newspaper coverage about my life off the field, which made for a difficult few days.

But I resolved to learn and move on from the experience, get my head down and focus on my football, especially at such a busy time.

There is plenty more I hope to achieve in the next 12 months after a big year for me in 2007.

I made my England debut, scored my first international goal, and it has been a rollercoaster ride with Manchester City from one end of the Premier League table to the other.

Manchester City and England defender Micah Richards
Richards hopes he will have a place in Capello's first England team

Those were the ups, but there were a few downs too.

Failing to qualify for Euro 2008 and being sidelined after my first bad injury at the end of last season, which meant I needed surgery on my calf, gave me something to think about.

Things like that help me learn and make me a stronger person. I know now not to take anything for granted because you never know what is around the corner, as a player and a person.

When my aunt, who I was very close to, died in October, there was a lot going on in my mind but you have to block it out when you are playing.

I am still only 19 but I already know that not everything is going to run smoothly in my career and I have to learn how to react when things are not so rosy.

I do realise everyone is going to have an opinion about me but they don't always know what is going on in my life.

They create their opinions from what they read in the papers, which unfortunately most of the time is untrue.

I resolved to learn and move on from the experience, get my head down and focus on my football

It is frustrating to hear people talk about my new contract at City and make out the reason I haven't signed yet is because I am being greedy when they don't know the facts.

I have still got two and a half years left on my current deal - it is not as though I am in my last year or six months - and things don't happen overnight.

As for the speculation linking me with a move to join Kevin Keegan at Newcastle, I don't know where that has come from, but there is nothing in it.

It is easy for people to make out I am something I am not but football, and doing well on the pitch, is the most important thing to me and I am hungry for success.

With City, we have had a bit of a tricky time recently and slipped to seventh in the table but we are still up there with a chance of finishing in the top four.

If we want to really compete with the top teams though, we have got to start picking up some points, not just drawing games.

606: DEBATE

We have got two hard matches coming up, against Manchester United and Arsenal next month.

But before that we go to Derby County and, with respect, we have to make sure that when we play teams at the bottom of the table, we take full advantage.

With England, it is also about building on what I did last year.

I haven't spoken to him yet but I am sure the new manager Fabio Capello will have new ways of doing things.

I just hope I am in his plans for the friendly against Switzerland on 6 February so I can show him what I can do again.

He sent someone to watch me in the FA Cup replay against West Ham and I think I have been playing well enough to be involved but it is up to him.

Like everyone else, I am just waiting for him to name his first squad next week.

  • Micah Richards was talking to Chris Bevan

  • SEE ALSO
    Richards close to Man City deal
    28 Sep 07 |  Man City
    Capello unveiled as England coach
    17 Dec 07 |  Internationals
    Capello 'to get best out of team'
    16 Dec 07 |  Internationals
    Capello's backroom boys
    14 Dec 07 |  Internationals
    Micah Richards column
    12 Dec 07 |  Football


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