Manchester City defender Micah Richards has only got one thing on his mind — returning from injury and wearing the sky blue shirt once more.
Richards, 24, sustained an ankle injury whilst playing for Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics, and is still two weeks away from returning for selection.
The right-back has missed City’s first three Premier League games as a result, but is upbeat about his return as well as expressing thanks for the support he has received from fans during his lay-off.
“I’m happy with the progress we’ve made so far because it was quite a bad one [the injury], but I can’t wait to just get back in among the squad,” Richards told City’s official website.
“I’ve got so much respect for the supporters for always getting behind me and I have loads of positive messages from [the fans] and I am grateful for that.
“I just can’t wait to get back and get back playing and to show everyone what I can do all over again.”
Richards’ impending return to the City first team fold could not have come timelier for Roberto Mancini’s Premier League champions.
The Champions League group stage commences next week and has created a so-called ‘Group of Death’ for City, being drawn against three league title winners Borussia Dortmund, Ajax and the mighty Real Madrid.
Reflecting on the draw, Richards said: “When I saw Real Madrid come out I thought it was great that we had such a good team to go to, but then when Dortmund and Ajax came out I thought wow!
“To play against players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema — it’s going to be good to watch and hopefully we can get something there and hopefully I’ll be involved in some of the other games.
“I think we’re ready for it and we’ve certainly got the players to go and show everyone that we are a Champions League side and I think this season people will see that.”
Richards also faces stiff competition for the City right-back berth, with Pablo Zabaleta finishing last season as the club’s first choice in that position, and the arrival of £5million Brazil ace Maicon from Inter Milan.
In spite of the disappointment of injury and the time spent out, Birmingham-born Richards is still looking forward to the personal and collective challenges ahead in the coming season for the Blues.
Richards said: “The manager has been playing a 3-5-2 formation, so there’s more chance that I’m going to play if he goes with that, but if he plays a 4-4-2, it’s going to be me, Zaba and Maicon battling it out for the right back position!
“I think you needed a big squad. I don’t mind though, I’ve had competition all my life.
“I’ve been here seven years and I’m still going, so a little bit of competition just makes it a little bit better.”