MICAH RICHARDS: Some Man City players gave up too easily in their heavy defeat by Leicester… they miss someone like Vincent Kompany who leads the team on and off the pitch
- Man City were heavily beaten by Leicester last time out in the Premier League
- Pep Guardiola’s side lacked a leader like Vincent Kompany, on and off the pitch
- Some people have said that Ruben Dias is ‘the next Kompany’ but it’s impossible
- Guardiola’s players must understand the club, the city and the supporters
Sportsmail’s Micah Richards has had his say on his old club Manchester City and their defeat by Leicester in his latest column
It’s a long time since I left a stadium as frustrated as I did last Sunday. The manner of Manchester City’s defeat to Leicester was so alarming that I was still stewing on it in midweek.
I’ve got so much respect for City and for everyone there, from the manager to the players to the people behind the scenes who make things function on a daily basis. I’m never going to be a bitter ex-pro who shoots his mouth off and says things were better in my day. That’s not me.
At the beginning of the season, I tipped City for the title. I argued that a dressing room that has become as accustomed to winning as theirs would want to rip the trophy back out of Liverpool’s hands and I will not change my mind after two games. That would be ridiculous.
But, equally, I can’t bottle my feelings. What I saw from City six days ago, the way they fell apart, left me concerned about the way the season is going to unfold.
Perhaps this will serve as a jolt and remind some of the squad about what it means to play for the club.
Manchester City conceded five goals at home to Leicester in their last Premier League match
It was a worrying defeat for Pep Guardiola’s side, who will be desperate to win the title
Defeats happen. There are ways to lose, though, and it felt like some gave up too easily against Leicester and, if that was the case, it is unacceptable. I like Leicester and I thought Jamie Vardy was superb but Manchester City don’t concede five at home to Leicester. That just don’t happen.
More scrutiny is now on a defence that has cost in excess of £350million to assemble. Ruben Dias, from Benfica, is the latest addition for a club record fee and already I have heard people referring to him as ‘The next Vincent Kompany’. Such comparisons are ridiculous.
Nobody will ever replace Vincent Kompany. Vinny was one of the greatest defenders of the Premier League era but the vast majority of you only saw what he did he did on the pitch. Off the pitch, away from the cameras, his impact on City helped shape the club.
City sorely miss someone like Vincent Kompany, who was a leader both on and off the pitch
Guardiola will know the importance of having a leader like Kompany in his City squad
Richards speaks about the impact Kompany had on him during his time at the club
Vinny raised standards in training, he made sure players were happy and believed in them. I remember a time when I was out of the team under Roberto Mancini and felt the door had been closed on me but Vinny knew how much it was affecting me.
‘Meeks,’ he said. ‘Don’t worry about it: You know your ability. You go and show it to him, you show good you are. We all believe in you and we are here for you.’
They might sound like a few simple words but the impact was huge and really helped. Vinny came in 2008 and knew what the club was like before the Abu Dhabi takeover; he knew the connection with the community and what Manchester City stands for with its supporters.
That’s why I say it’s ridiculous – and unfair – to compare Dias to Vinny. It’s similar with Phil Foden. He isn’t the next David Silva. He may have a beautiful left foot but he is a completely different midfielder; it’s far-fetched to think a new face replaces an old one and everything stays the same.
Ruben Dias could become a leader but nobody will replace what Kompany was to City
Rodri reacts during the disappointing, and heavy, defeat by Leicester on Sunday afternoon
There are leaders in the current squad. Kevin De Bruyne takes people with him through the brilliance of his play, while Fernandinho is big character. I think they need someone, however, whose leadership extends away from the pitch.
Sometimes it feels like new faces have arrived in Manchester and they think it’s all about the glitz and the glamour. I want them to understand what City is about, what it really means to the fans. I don’t ever want City’s players to not to have a link with its local community.
Everything must evolve in life, I get that. I look at the progress that City have made from the time I first arrived from Oldham as a schoolboy and you cannot even begin to make a comparison between the two situations. Equally, though, you should never forget how you were when you started.
City fans are renowned for singing that they fight till the end and they’ll want to see that from their players. There is always beautiful football on show but they’ll want to see the side being more clinical in the coming weeks and they certainly won’t tolerate goals being conceded as they were last weekend. There is nothing wrong, sometimes, with just sitting in and defending to get your shape.
Richards says that Guardiola’s players need to understand the fans, the city and the club
Richards speaks on Sky Sports in his role as a pundit following the Man City vs Leicester game
I don’t get irate, I don’t make off-the-cuff statements. It takes a lot for me to feel as deeply as I did about a result like Leicester but there were a few things in that 90 minutes that left me wondering how the season will pan out.
Liverpool have started brilliantly in the Premier League and you have to expect they will get 90-plus points again. There is a theory that you can get at Liverpool if you beat their press but Liverpool are the team who will score four if they concede three – they really are that potent.
If City are to become champions, they need to take that on board. They have already lost and another setback at Leeds would make things even more difficult. I’m hoping the situation will see the leaders emerge.
Micah’s moan of the week
Oldham will always have a special place in my affections. I was in their school of excellence as a teenager, playing up front alongside Danny Welbeck’s brother, Wayne. When I moved to Manchester City, Frankie Bunn – an Oldham legend – was my coach.
I’ve always followed their results, so it was dispiriting last week to see they had lost again – their third defeat in three games – to Crawley. They are 21st in League Two, going into Saturday’s trip to Colchester, one place ahead of Bolton.
Oldham and Bolton are proud names in the northwest, football clubs with history, who were both in the Premier League. Both now have financial difficulties and my worry for the future is for the fans. It would be unimaginable if either of them lost their places in the Football League.
Oldham have struggled at the start of the season – losing three consecutive matches
Future looks all White
There were plenty of names in the latest England squad and Gareth Southgate will surely experiment in Thursday’s friendly against Wales.
Southgate is excited by the young players who are emerging and I expect, in the not too distant future, he will want to take a look at Brighton’s Ben White. In fact, I would go as far to say he will already be thinking of when he can elevate him to his team.
I watched White a lot last season. He played all 46 games for Leeds and the first question you always ask yourself about someone who is operating at high level in the Championship is whether they could do it in the Premier League.
Ben White is showing that the future is bright for England and Gareth Southgate is excited
After a couple of games, I knew White was too good for the Championship. He’s quick with an added burst of pace, he reads the game well and he is good on the ball. He wouldn’t be the tallest central defender but that is only a minor quibble.
For Leeds not to be able to sign him was a massive, massive blow. Liverpool and Chelsea were also very keen to sign him but he took the decision to stay at Brighton where he knew he would get plenty of minutes.
From what I have seen of him again this season, I am convinced he will be in England’s squad for the 2022 World Cup. He could play in a two or three man defence and Southgate will be watching him closely. I think he has got something special about him.
After a couple of games at Leeds, he had shown that he was too good for the Championship
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