RICHARDS NOT IN SQUAD

Manchester City defender Micah Richards has been forced to withdraw from the England Under-21 squad for this summer’s European Championship finals.

The powerful stopper has pulled out of manager Stuart Pearce’s party for the tournament in Denmark next month due to a hamstring injury.

Richards’ absence leaves Pearce with just 22 players at his disposal and the Young Lions boss will name a replacement shortly.

The 22-year-old was due to captain England and it means Pearce will have to appoint a new skipper.

RICHARDS ON WORLD CUP TRAIL

MICAH Richards will be hoping tonight’s crunch Under-21 clash with Greece will not be the last time he pulls on an England shirt this season.

Richards is expected to lead Stuart Pearce’s men at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium for the 2011 European Championship qualifying clash.

But Richards has set his sights on representing his country in South Africa at the World Cup.

Pearce said: “Micah knows a good performance won’t do him any harm at all, but the same goes for all the lads.

Richards Gunning for Win

Micah Richards is confident Manchester City can put an end to their wretched away record against Arsenal.

Saturday’s visit to the Emirates Stadium appears the most daunting for City given they have not beaten Arsenal away since 1975, covering some 26 matches. But the Blues won the reverse fixture 4-2 in September before beating Arsenal 3-0 in the Carling Cup quarter-finals so Richards, who is back in contention after a knee injury, is in bullish mood.

RICHARDS READY TO FACE ARSENAL

Micah Richards is optimistic that he can return from a knee injury for Manchester City’s trip to Arsenal on Saturday. The defender has sat out City’s last four games with the problem, but is expecting to be back in full training later this week.

But, though the England international is hopeful he will be fit, he accepts he may have a job on his hands to dislodge Nedum Onuoha from the right-back role for the game at Emirates Stadium. “I am going to train later this week as long as it is comfortable and hopefully be available for the Arsenal game,” said Richards

MICAH RICHARDS: CITY CAN BEAT ARSENAL

“We have beaten them twice already this season, so why not again?” he said. “Arsenal will want revenge and they are a different team at home.

“At the Emirates they probably play the best football in the Premier League but we can beat anyone on our day. As long as we are right, nothing else matters.”

City also host Tottenham and sixth-placed Aston Villa before visiting West Ham on the final day of the season. Manager Roberto Mancini has said three wins would be enough for City to clinch fourth place and Richards insists they can still claim the final Champions League spot.

REDKNAPP: I WANT MICAH RICHARDS

Harry Redknapp hopes to complete an audacious double swoop for Man City pair Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards this summer. The Tottenham boss believes that if Champions League football is secured then the White Hart Lane outfit could persuade the Eastlands duo to make the move to London.