Liverpool and Juventus target happy at Man City

The 22-year-old was linked with clubs such as Liverpool and Juventus in the January transfer window.

But a recent chat about his future with manager Roberto Mancini has persuaded the defender to stay at Eastlands.

“I initiated the contact with Mancini,” said Richards in The People. “I’d had a back injury and then I was on the bench for three games. I wasn’t happy because I was fit, so I went to see him.

“I asked him what was going on ­because I think I’ve been doing the ­business this season. He told me to bide my time and then take my chance.

“Mancini makes it easy for you to speak to him. He has a tough side to him but, deep down, he is a soft guy. The chat only lasted about 15 ­minutes but I’m pleased with how it went.

“Getting a place in the side is tough but Mancini told me that if I ­concentrated more I could be a top defender and even a world-class defender.

“When a top manager says that, you have to start believing it. I do believe it because when I’m on top of my game I can match anyone.

“It’s about maintaining your ­confidence. Some of the times I was on the bench were because I was injured but other times it was down to personnel.

“It was frustrating and that’s why I went to see the manager. I want to stay here, of course. There were a couple of links with Chelsea and Aston Villa but I have not heard anything myself.

“I am happy as long as I’m in the team at City but if I’m not playing then I would rather go somewhere else and play.”