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Ex-Man City and England defender Micah Richards retires aged 31

He won the Premier League title in 2012, but was most recently on the books at Aston Villa.

Richards captaining Villa in 2016.
Richards captaining Villa in 2016.
Image: Martin Rickett

MICAH RICHARDS HAS announced his retirement from football at the age of 31. 

Plagued by a persistent knee injury, the former England defender has been forced to call time on his professional career prematurely, having most recently been on the books at Aston Villa. 

He came through the ranks at Manchester City and made his first-team debut as a 17-year-old back in October 2005. Richards went on to make 250 appearances for City over the decade that followed — winning the FA Cup in 2011 and the Premier League title a year later. 

After a loan spell in Italy with Fiorentina, he joined Aston Villa in 2015 but after featuring prominently in his first season there, fitness issues have prevented him from being involved in recent years. 

Richards, who is capped 13 times for England, last played in October 2016 and he was released by the Birmingham club this summer. 

He will now take up an off-the-field role at Man City. 

Soccer - Friendly - Stoke City v Manchester City - Britannia Stadium He made his Man City debut at the age of 17. Source: EMPICS Sport

“I’m a footballer and I want to play football, but the knee would swell up to the point where I couldn’t even train properly,” Richards said, in a statement released by Man City. “I would have liked to have given Aston Villa more on the pitch, but it just wasn’t to be.

Villa is a fantastic club, a very big club in all senses of the word and a great source of pride to the supporters. They looked after me very well and I have nothing but positive words to say about boss Dean Smith who was very positive and inclusive.

“It was great to be back at Wembley for the play-off final and celebrate with the team. It didn’t look great at one point earlier in the campaign, but everyone came together to produce the best end possible to the season. I wish everyone all the best for the return to the Premier League.”

He added: “City has always been my spiritual home and where I enjoyed my best years as a player. Being part of the side that ended the long wait for silverware — in 2011 and 2012 — was very special. It kick-started this new era and the club has never looked back. What has happened since has been amazing.

“I feel lucky to have been asked back to help spread the City message and can’t wait to get going. I know it will be fun because City fans are incredible and always have been.”

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Ben Blake

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