My lowest point, by Micah
- 02 March 2012 08:27
- Posted by Peter Ferguson
Blues fans weren't the only ones delighted to see Micah Richards finally back in a senior England shirt - he's always a good honest talker afterwards, so the pack made a beeline.
They weren't disappointed either, although the line about being "given no explanation for being frozen out ... by former manager Fabio Capello" (London Evening Standard and others) is old news.
But Micah does "open his heart", telling them: "Nothing at all can knock my confidence but, when you are in the England squad and get dropped down to the Under-21s, that's as low as you can go.
"Fighting my way back is the hardest thing I've ever done. I've been playing well for City the last 18 months and a lot of people have been asking me why I'm not involved in the squad.
"Sometimes you've just got to take it on the chin. Kyle Walker and Glen Johnson have been doing well for their clubs so I've got good competition.
"But it's great to be back. I've been gutted when not playing for England or being in the squad. It means everything to me."
The Independent quotes him on dealing with the disappointment of his England exile: "It's hard but you just have to get on with it. That's where mental toughness comes into it.
"In football, if you want to be a good player you have to be good upstairs as well and I think the manager [Roberto Mancini] has been excellent for me.
"He's said if you don't go in for the international team don't worry about it, there's just more chance to play. It keeps you fresh for City. A different manager is going to come in and maybe he will like you. [He said] just to enjoy it."
Elsewhere, we can reveal the transfer speculation window officially opened on 1 March. Is Roberto licking his pencil and making a list?
He can't hang about. The Mail reckons that "coveted Spain striker Fernando Llorente has emerged as a transfer target for Champions League holders Barcelona.
"The 27-year-old Athletic Bilbao giant, one of those keeping Fernando Torres out of the Spain squad, counts City boss Roberto Mancini and Spurs manager Harry Redknapp among his admirers."
They also say "Arsenal's pursuit of Anderlecht forward Matias Suarez is in jeopardy after Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United entered the race for the Argentine striker".
Not to be outdone, click-manchester.com report that City, United and Barcelona "are interested in Chelsea youngster Ruben Loftus-Cheek". Worth a punt for the name alone ...