Micah Richards will watch his television this afternoon and next Wednesday night wishing he was on the box and not in front of it.
Richards’ eyes will be firmly fixed on England’s Wembley double header against Slovenia in today’s friendly and Croatia in the midweek World Cup qualifier.
Teammates Gareth Barry, Joleon Lescott, Shaun Wright-Phillips, and Wayne Bridge will all be there and Richards wants to swell the City contingent to five as soon as possible.
The City ace, who when he made his international debut in 2006 was the youngest defender ever to be called into his country’s squad, missed out on a chance to impress the Three Lions coaching hierarchy this week when injury forced him out of the under 21 squad.
However, the knee knock that saw him limp out of the win at Portsmouth in the second half is not as bad as first feared and the 21-year-old should be back in action against Arsenal next weekend.
Then it will be full tilt ahead at attempting to achieve his double aim of bringing silverware to the City of Manchester Stadium and adding to his 11 international caps with the ultimate ambition of forcing his way onto the aeroplane for the World Cup in South Africa next summer.
“First thing first and the initial aim for everyone here this season was to win a place in the side; there is great competition for places,” smiled the player who despite his tender years is one of only two in the current side to have made 100 league starts for the Blues.
I have faith in my ability; I feel that when I am on top of my game I am as good as anyone in the league. It is just about getting that form back to what it was on a consistent basis.
“Hopefully if we are pushing to where we want to be, I am in the side and we are keeping clean sheets and doing well then there is no reason why I can’t get back into the England picture.
“The main thing for me is giving 100 per cent for City and making sure we achieve something here this season. For years we have promised something but now we have the players to do it. There is no excuse for us not to have a big year here.”
The affable yet ambitious Richards knows that success with a club can automatically bring rewards on a bigger stage and he is banking on catching Fabio Capello’s eye along the way.
“There is obviously an ambition to be in the World Cup squad at the end of the season with the other lads here,” admitted the defender. “I will watch the games this week wishing I was there and part of it but I am only 21-years-old I have still got a lot of years ahead of me and I will just work as hard as can to be good as good as I can be.
“International recognition can all be about timing and a bit of luck too in terms of players being injured but we have a big contingent of England players here now and some others who could break through given their chance.
“Look at Nedum (Onuoha) he could yet come in and do his part if someone gets an injury. The last twenty games of last season he was unbelievable and England standard. It is just about timing really and for those of us at City this year it is about taking your chance in the first team when it comes and making sure you stay there.”