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Micah Richards wants central role at Aston Villa

Micah Richards was one of several Aston Villa players present at the club's kit launch
Image: Micah Richards was one of several Aston Villa players present at the club's kit launch

Micah Richards has told Sky Sports News HQ he wants to establish himself as a centre-half at Aston Villa.

The 27-year-old did play centrally at times during his decade with Manchester City but made his name as a right-back, winning 13 England caps.

Richards spent the final year of his City deal on loan at Fiorentina but returned to England this summer to join Villa on a free transfer - a move which owed much to a shared vision with his new manager Tim Sherwood.

"I did have other options," he said. "But I spoke to the manager, and he knew what I needed as a player to get back playing regularly. He just understood my situation more than anyone. He told me what I wanted to hear.

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Aston Villa's new signing Micah Richards reveals that manager Tim Sherwood was a big reason why he chose to join the club

"I always said when I got older I wanted to play centre-half, and I think that time has come now. I'm getting old now, aren't I!? No, I feel in good shape and hopefully I can have a good pre-season. I feel as though my good years can still be ahead of me.

Villa finished 15th and 17th in the past two seasons but made the FA Cup final under Sherwood in May.

"It's is a massive club," Richards said. "The position in the last two years has not been good enough, but if we hold on to the best players we'll have a good season."

Those best players include Christian Benteke, who remains at Villa Park while no club matches the £32.5m buyout price in his contract.

Richards said: "At the end of last season he was scoring goals for fun. I think when he's fit and happy he's one of the best strikers in the world, so having him stay would be massive for us.

"Hopefully we can do that because he'd be a tough player to replace."

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