Manchester City’s Micah Richards has said that he may have to leave the club at the end of the season in order to benefit his international career. The England international has been playing second fiddle to Pablo Zabaleta since the Argentine established himself as the number one right back in the country.

Richards has often been used as a backup by manager Manuel Pellegrini. His contract runs out in a short time. Even though he stated recently that he would like to extend his contract with the club, where he made his debut as a professional, his current plight means that he may have to search elsewhere for first-team opportunities.

The 25-year-old is fast approaching the peak of his career, but he has made just seven appearances this season. He will be able to hold talks with foreign clubs once the January transfer window opens. It is expected that he is looking to stay in England in order to make himself available for the national team duty. He may leave the club on a loan deal till the end of the season in order to improve his chances of being at the World Cup 2014. Players like Kyle Walker have moved ahead of him in the pecking order due to regular first-team football.

“My contract is up at the end of next season and, although I’ve already spoken to City and know that they are happy to extend my deal, I’ve told them I want to see how many games I play this season. I don’t ever want to leave Manchester City, with the way it’s going. But it’s one of those where I will have to look at my career and say, ‘Are you playing enough?’ Come the end of the season, I’ll do that and, hopefully, I’ll have played enough,” said Richards.