Was Fabio Capello right to leave out Man City’s Micah Richards?

Micah Richards was the most notable absentee when Fabio Capello named his England squad to face Spain and Sweden. The Man City man who last played for the Three Lions a year ago has been having a stellar season, but Glen Johnson and Kyle Walker were picked ahead of him.

Glen Johnson is just returning from injury and Kyle Walker has now locked down the right back spot at Tottenham, but have they both been better players than Micah Richards this season?

So, just who has been England’s best right back?


Micah Richards against Glen Johnson and Kyle Walker

After a season where Micah Richards saw limited playing time, he has now firmly established himself as Man City’s starting right back. But how does he fare against Glen Johnson and Kyle Walker?

Let’s break down each part of their game and see how all three of them compare.

Defending

Defending is what a right back is in the team to do first and foremost. So let’s take a look at how Micah Richards stacks up against Glen Johnson and Kyle Walker this season in the Premier League:
.

Glen Johnson (Liverpool)

Kyle Walker (Tottenham)

Micah Richards
(Man City)

Minutes on pitch

280

765

812

Total Duels

25

80

98

Duels Won

14

45

61

Duels Won (%)

56%

56%

62%

Total Tackles

7

23

23

Total Tackles Won

5

19

19

Tackles Won (%)

71%

83%

83%

.
Although Glen Johnson hasn’t spent as much time on the pitch as Kyle Walker and Micah Richards, the Liverpool man has won the same percentage of his duels as his Tottenham counterpart. However, both have won a lower percentage than Micah Richards.

The same can be said for tackle success where Glen Johnson at 71% has made a lower percentage of his tackles than both Walker and Richards (83%).

Glen Johnson has been coming back off of injury though, so he could be forgiven for mistiming challenges in his four appearances so far this season. However, last season where he appeared in 28 Premier League matches for Liverpool, Johnson won 54% of his duels and 72% of his tackles, which is pretty comparable to his perfromance season. This is still less than both Kyle Walker and Micah Richards this Premier League campaign.

Defending doesn’t just consist of tackling and winning duels. It also involves intercepting the ball, recovering possession, clearances and blocking shots. So how do England’s three best stack up in the Premier League this season?
.

Glen Johnson (Liverpool)

Kyle Walker (Tottenham)

Micah Richards (Man City)

Minutes on pitch

280

765

812

Interceptions

4

17

9

Mins per Interception

70

45

85

Recoveries

13

51

35

Mins per Recovery

22

15

23

Clearances

6

39

42

Mins per Clearance

47

20

19

Blocks

2

3

6

Mins per Block

140

255

135

.
With each player spending a different amount of time on the pitch, it’s best to break each category down on a minute-by-minute basis.

Kyle Walker makes the most interceptions by far. The Tottenham man not only has twice the number of interceptions as Richards and Johnson, he also makes one every 45 minutes on pitch. Micah Richards making an interception 85 minutes and Johnson every 70 minutes, suggest the Tottenham man has a better reading of the play.

Kyle Waker reads the game well

Kyle Walker’s reading of the play also makes him standout in recovering the ball. The Spurs starter recovers the ball every 15 minutes, compared to Johnson every 22 minutes and Micah Richards every 23 minutes.

Micah Richards leads the way when it comes to clearances. The City man makes a clearance every 19 minutes, compared to Kyle Walker who clears a ball every 20 minutes and Johnson every 47 minutes.

When it comes to blocking shots Micah Richards has the most, but only sneaks ahead of Glen Johnson by making one every 135 minutes, compared to every 140 minutes for Johnson. Kyle Walker is well behind, making a clearance every 255 minutes, but this is because he is reading the play and making interceptions.

Verdict: Micah Richards

Kyle Walker leads the way in interceptions and recoveries. Micah Richards has the highest percentage of duels won, clearances and blocks. Both Walker and Richards have the same tackle success, but Micah Richards edges it by virtue of having won more duels.

Attacking

Defensive duties are the most important part of a full back’s play, but they also have to be able to get forward and help support the attackers. So how do England’s best three fare going forward?
.

Glen Johnson (Liverpool)

Kyle Walker (Tottenham)

Micah Richards (Man City)

Minutes on pitch

280

765

812

Shots on target

1

1

1

Goals

0

1

0

Passes

159

357

306

Passing Success (%)

85%

82%

81%

Key Passes

1

3

4

Mins per Key Pass

280

255

203

Assists

0

1

4

Mins per Assist

0

765

203

Successful Crosses

2

1

5

Cross Success (%)

22%

7%

25%

.
All three have only hit the target with one shot this season, but Kyle Walker is the only one to have found the net.

Glen Johnson is an accurate passer

When it comes to passing, Glen Johnson is the most accurate with an 85% success rate. However, when it comes to key passes and assists, then Micah Richards leads the way. Richards has set up four goals for free-scoring Manchester City and is making a key pass to create a chance every 203 minutes, which is much more frequent than either Glen Johnson or Kyle Walker.

Full backs need to be able to cross and when it comes to putting good quality balls in to the box, Micah Richards is the most successful. The Man City man has found a team-mate with 25% of his crosses so far this season, which is better than either Johnson or Walker. After Glen Johnson gets a few more games under his belt, we should have a better indication of how he fares this season, having only attempted 7 crosses so far in his four Premier League appearances.

Verdict: Micah Richards

Micah Richards again comes out on top here. He leads the way in assists and key passes to create chances, as well as providing successful crosses.

Was Fabio Capello right to overlook Micah Richards for the England right back role?

From what we’ve seen this season, Micah Richards has lead the way when it comes to the right back role for the Three Lions. He is playing on a table-topping Man City side, but his percentage of duels and tackles won are better than both Glen Johnson and Kyle Walker who were selected ahead of him.

Micah Richards should be given anoher England chance

Going forward Micah Richards does have an awesome front line to play with at Man City, so it’s no surprise he has 4 assists already and the most key passes. His passing accuracy is just behind that of Glen Johnson, but his percentage of successful crosses is greater. However, after Glen Johnson has played some more minutes on pitch we should have a better idea of who provides better balls in to the box. Glen Johnson has only made 2 successful crosses so far from 7 attempts, whereas Micah Richards has accurately delivered 5 crosses out of 20 attempts.

It appears Fabio Capello has not been watching the resurgent Micah Richards closely enough this season. If he had, he would have selected him to be in his squad to take on Sweden and the World Champions.

Join The Team:

Get new analysis delivered to your inbox:

, , , , ,

2 Responses to Was Fabio Capello right to leave out Man City’s Micah Richards?

  1. Mike A November 11, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    I thought it was a bad decision by Capello at the time, this just confirms it.

  2. Thomas G November 11, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

    I appreciate that you taking the time to write this article , it has valuable information.