One played 179 times for Manchester City, the other failed to make a first team appearance, but both Micah Richards and Kieran Trippier have made moves to further their careers.
Richards, once deemed a future England starter, had fallen completely off the radar of English football having spent a underwhelming season on loan at Fiorentina. The motive behind the move to Italy was clear - play games in a somewhat rejuvenated Serie A and reignite a career that had sadly stalled.
However following an intermittent season, not dissimilar to that of another English fullback, Richards finds himself as one of the first summer recruits by the man many have dubbed Tim 'Shrewdwood'.
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Having progressed through Manchester City’s academy - captaining the side that won the FA Youth Cup - and appearing for the England youth sides from under 18 to 21 level, Kieran Trippier was not afforded the same chances at first team level as Richards.
Rather than sit in the reserves and await a chance that may never arrive, Trippier undertook successful loan moves to both Barnsley and Burnley. It was during these spells that his penchant for crossing and dead ball delivery became apparent.
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Having signed permanently for Burnley in 2012 he has accumulated just over 200 first team appearances in what is still a fledgling career. His performances over this period have seen him collect an array of personal awards, including being named in successive PFA Championship Team’s of the Year. With all this in mind, his subsequent move to Spurs has been a long time coming.
In many ways Richards and Trippier represent many footballers of their generation and the choices faced by players of this and future generations. When confronted with the dilemma of being on the periphery, on the outside looking in, many will choose to stay in the reserves, on the sidelines, collect their wages and be done with it.
Clearly it isn’t always as simple as that and in Richards' case, injuries and the form of Pablo Zabaleta have significantly hindered his control of the situation. The sentiment still holds though, and the obvious parallels that can be drawn between Richards and Trippier go as far as their strength of character.
Both men have had to navigate and overcome periods in which the outlook of their career’s has seemed unclear, but they have proven their commitment to the game they both evidently adore, admittedly through different methods. Trippier by moving down to the fiercely competitive Championship, in which many a Premier League reject has failed to reinvigorate his career. Richards by joining Aston Villa and thus lowering his short term ambitions in favour of long term gain.
One has dropped down to come back up, the other has no doubt been inundated with glamorous offers of plying his trade on the other side of the world, both, refreshingly, remain in the Premier League. Will both be surprise inclusions in Roy Hodgson’s squad for Euro 2016? Watch this space.
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