Why did Micah Richards retire? The injuries that ruined the Sky Sports star’s playing career

Many newer football fans may know Micah Richards as the light-hearted, energetic pundit that features on Sky Sports regularly. But before his time on TV, he was a rising talent in the Premier League. So, why did Micah Richards retire prematurely?

Originally from Birmingham, Richards rose through Manchester City’s academy ranks, making his debut against Arsenal in October 2005. A talented defender, Richards mostly played as a right-back. However, his versatility allowed him to play at the heart of defence.

After playing for Man City, Richards had brief spells at Fiorentina and Aston Villa before calling time on his career. Before that, though, the Englishman really did “burst onto the scene” – although Roy Keane may disagree.

Man City and early success

Just four games into his fledgling career, Richards announced himself to the world by scoring a late equaliser for City in an FA Cup tie with Aston Villa. Following this, he picked up more regular first-team chances at Eastlands. He even found himself on England’s radar.

Richards made his senior England debut in November 2006, becoming England’s youngest ever defender. He earned widespread praise for his performance against the Netherlands as he thwarted Arjen Robben.

Unfortunately, injuries began to creep up on the defender in the years that followed. Cartilage damage saw Richards miss eight games in 2007/08 before he missed a further ten matches the following season. After City’s takeover by Sheikh Mansour, Richards managed to stay injury-free for a while.

He was a regular starter as the Citizens won the 2011 FA Cup and then the 2012 Premier League title. In addition, Richards was part of the squad that won the 2014 league title. But, by this point, his injury woes were stacking up.

In October 2012, the England defender tore the meniscus in his right knee, therefore needing surgery. The lengthy lay-off caused Micah Richards to miss nearly all of the 2012/13 season, too. This injury made his next few years very difficult. The defender missed many matches as a result.

Why did Micah Richards retire?

Richards started 2013/14 with some thigh problems that forced a three-match absence. Then, in December 2013, he suffered a hamstring injury in a Champions League match with Bayern Munich.

A loan move to Fiorentina ahead of the 2014/15 season did little to turn around the defender’s fortunes. Now, Richards made 20 appearances for I Viola, although the hamstring issues continued to persist.

Upon his return to England, Micah joined Aston Villa on a free transfer. He was at the Villans until 2019, making his final appearance for the club back in 2016.

Another knee problem absolutely wrecked his chances at regular football.

The former Man City player told The Mirror that team doctors were taking “100 ml of fluid out of my knee twice a week” – clearly showing how much pain Richards was in. Sadly, because of the continuous knee issues, Micah Richards hung up his boots in July 2019, aged 31.

The defender was incredibly unlucky not to be able to fulfil his potential. These unfortunate injuries did rob Micah Richards of his prime and cause him to ultimately retire, which is why people will always wonder “what if”.

Featured image credit: Getty