Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has told Micah Richards that he sees him as a right-back rather than a central defender.

Richards is capable of playing in both conditions but Pellegrini wants the 25-year-old to concentrate on breaking into the team as a full-back rather than a centre-back.

Vincent Kompany, Matija Nastasic, Joleon Lescott and Martin Demichelis are all fighting for two spots in Pellegrini's starting line-up - which would leave Richards fifth in the centre-back pecking order.

The England international returned to the Manchester City squad on Tuesday in the Capital One Cup after returning from a troublesome hamstring string.

His return to first-team training has given new boss Pellegrini a chance to assess where he feels Richards' best position is.

"I know how Micah Richards can play. He came back from a long injury and he played really well. He is an important defender," said Pellegrini. 

"When he is fit he will have options to play, because Pablo [Zabaleta] played the last seven games. I think it is good for whole team."

"I think he must be as a right-back. At centre-back we have Kompany, Nastasic, Lescott -- who played well against Wigan -- and Martin Demichelis.

"He [Demichelis] is injured, but we have cover in those positions with other players. I think he is a right-back. Maybe in an emergency he can play there [in the centre], but his natural position is right-back."

Richards could be handed his first Premier League start of the season on Saturday as Pellegrini hinted that regular right-back Zabaleta is due a rest, as he has started six of the last seven Manchester City games so far this season.

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