Richards: I feel loyalty to Man City boss Pearce

Richards has been linked with several bigger clubs in recent months.

He told the Independent: “I’m not going to lie. It is flattering to see your name linked with all these clubs in the papers, but the gaffer gave me my chance here and I want to pay him back. A lot of managers wouldn’t have played me at 17, especially as a defender, but he believed in me and I’m showing a bit back by believing in him and sticking with him. I got into the full England squad by playing for Manchester City and so I am happy.

“It is more important for me to get the games. At some clubs you will be training with better players every day and so you will improve, but there is no better feeling then playing week in, week out. I’d rather stay here and play for years and years than go somewhere and sit on the bench just for the name of the club. For me, it’s about getting a game.

“I do believe that if you’re good enough to sign for a top team, then you are good enough to play. I know it’s a different environment and you have to move away from home but if you’re good enough to play, you’ll play. When the time is right to go, you go, but I think the time is right for me to stay and get as many games as possible. I’m very happy here. I remember the roar I received when I made my debut for City and that was very special to me. When a team is having a rough time then anyone can bail out but it’s about sticking together, you and the fans.”