Kieran Richardson, whatever happened to him?
A product of Manchester United’s youth academy, Richardson made 81 appearances in all competitions for the Red Devils between 2002 and 2007.
When he broke through, he was widely regarded as a young player with the potential to become a top-class left-winger. But as the years rolled by, it became apparent that Richardson wasn’t quite up to the standards expected of a Man Utd player.
Aside from his underwhelming performances, Richardson had also earned himself an unwanted reputation as a member of the ‘Baby Bentley’ brigade - or, another way of putting it, a big-time Charlie.
His questionable attitude failed to endear himself to the Old Trafford faithful and few fans were disappointed when he was offloaded to Sunderland in 2007.
Richardson’s £5.5 million move to the Stadium of Light effectively signalled the end of his England career - he scored two goals in eight appearances for the Three Lions between 2005 and 2006 - but he ended up played 149 times for the Black Cats before moving on to Fulham in 2012.
He spent two seasons at Craven Cottage and then two seasons at Aston Villa before making a handful of appearances for Championship outfit Cardiff City in the first half of the 2016-17 campaign before being released from his contract.
Where is Kieran Richardson now?
But where is he now?
Richardson hasn’t made a professional appearance for any club since December 2016 but has not retired.
He only turned 33 in October and trained with Spanish side Granada, who were managed by Tony Adams at the time, but failed to secure a contract.
He then spent a couple of weeks training with League One outfit Southend United at the start of this season and impressed then manager Phil Brown, who said: “Kieran has looked fabulous in training.
“He’s been with us a couple of days and he wants to have a look at us the same way we want to have a look at him.”
However, a few weeks later, Brown told reporters: “Kieran is no longer training with us.”
Nothing more was said, although it was thought that Richardson would resume his career elsewhere.
Five months later and Richardson remains a free agent; however, he was linked with a shock move to Serie A Napoli just last week.
Maurizio Sarri reportedly wants short-term cover at left-back following an injury to Faouzi Ghoulam and Richardson’s name is understood to have been on the shortlist.
Nothing more has come of that potential transfer so far, which is a shame but hardly surprising.
Richardson is also now a committed Christian
On a side note, Richardson has shaken off the big-time Charlie reputation over the past few years.
In 2012, he gave an interview with the Christian Post admitting he had now dedicated his life to Jesus Christ.
"My last year in my Manchester (United) career, my football went off the rails. I was more worried about my social life than my football," Richardson told the church. "'I knew I wasn't performing because I was more interested in houses and cars.
"I wasn't happy. Now I have Jesus Christ in my life and I feel good in my heart."
Even if he has played his final match as a professional footballer, at least he’ll retire happy.
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