Micah Richards is expected to retire as a player at the end of the season after a three-year struggle with a knee injury, but he could be offered a non-playing role by Aston Villa to keep him involved in football. His last appearance was against Wolverhampton Wanderers on October 15, 2016.
Richards has a meniscus problem on his right knee, and tailored training sessions haven’t alleviated the problem nearly three years later. He struggles to train without it swelling and has been under medical instruction not to play again. His contract is up on June 30, so he’ll be a free agent from July onwards.
The 30-year-old made a total of 31 appearances in all competitions since joining from Manchester City in 2015. He’s become a forgotten man at Villa Park, but clubs don’t often let players retire without offering them a way to stay involved in football.
Regardless of supporters’ opinions on Richards when he was playing, it would be callous to judge him on performances made nearly three years ago. The amount of time he’s spent sidelined may have affected his mental health, so Villa would be wise not to cut ties with the defender in the coming months.
Richards reportedly remains a positive character at the club despite his situation, so he’d surely have a lot to offer the next generation given the high and lows he’s gone through in his career – winning a Premier League title, representing England, suffering a career-ended injury.
At his peak, Richards was tipped to be a regular at right-back for Manchester City and England. There’s a lot he can offer the young defenders at Villa, but whether a non-playing job offer is on the table remains to be seen.