Hughes keen to keep Richards

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Mark Hughes has ruled out any prospect of Micah Richards leaving Manchester City during the January transfer window.

Richards has lost his way over the past 18 months, having at one stage been good enough to become the youngest defender ever to play for England when he won the first of his 11 caps in Holland in November 2006 at the age of 18.

Pablo Zabaleta is currently Hughes' first-choice right-back and it was rumoured Harry Redknapp was intent on taking Richards to Tottenham during the next transfer window, but the City boss said: "Micah Richards is not going anywhere in January. He is a big part of what we are trying to do here and we know he can improve."

He added: "Don't forget, he is still a very young man.

"His football experience is great for someone of so few years and sometimes he doesn't get enough credit for that. But he is nowhere near the finished article. There is a huge amount of potential still to be tapped into."

Physically, Richards has few worries. The feeling is that his concentration is not what it could be, which leads to him getting into the wrong positions too often.

It was a problem Stuart Pearce identified when he was City boss, so the fact it still happens suggest a lack of application, another moan that is sometimes aired in Richards' direction.

However, Hughes is willing to be patient, believing Richards can eventually turn into a top player.

"Micah's physical attributes lend themselves to so many positions," said Hughes.

"We just have to make sure he is training and playing correctly because he will grow into an outstanding player."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester City
Mark Hughes
Premier League
Stuart Pearce
Micah Richards
Mark Hughes
Pablo Zabaleta

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