Smith says Richards could return to the Aston Villa first-team

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New Aston Villa manager Dean Smith says Micah Richards could return to the first-team, two years after his last appearance, reports the Mirror. The 30-year-old joined Villa from Manchester City in 2015 and has gone on to make 31 appearances in all competitions, the last of which came against Wolverhampton Wanderers on October 15, 2016.

After Villa suffered relegation from the Premier League in 2015/16, Richards fell down the pecking order quickly into his second season at the club. He hasn’t played since then, but Smith opened the door to a return. The ex-Brentford boss replaced the sacked Steve Bruce at Villa and will give the previously exiled players a chance to get themselves back in favour.

He said: “Micah trained with us on Monday morning. He’s not played for a long time so he’s not near fitness to be in contention at all at the moment. But we’ll see how his fitness builds over the next month or two. He’s been on a special programme, the training minutes he hasn’t had so far. We’ll see how his body adapts to those training minutes as we go.”

Smith has a big squad to play with and wants to give every single player an opportunity to help turn things around. Richards’ return may not have every supporter enthused, but the experienced Premier League winner may help Villa pick up some form when he’s fit enough to play.

The Midlands outfit have struggled early into the new season. They currently sit 15th in the Championship with 15 points from 12 games, having gone four without a win.

Stats from Transfermarkt.

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