• Premier League

Crocked Richards missing for a month

Richard Jolly
August 17, 2012
Micah Richards: The defender has seldom qualified for a clean sheet in recent months © PA Photos

Manchester City will be without Micah Richards for another month because of the defender's ankle injury.

Richards was injured on Olympic duty with the Great Britain team and manager Roberto Mancini had hoped he would be available to face Southampton on Sunday. But he said: "I think it will be three or four more weeks."

Goalkeeper Joe Hart is also a doubt for their Premier League opener against Nigel Adkins' side.

Hart missed City's Community Shield triumph against Chelsea and England's friendly victory over Italy with a back problem. And Mancini added: "Today [Friday] we will work with him and we will decide on Sunday."

However, new signing Jack Rodwell hopes his versatility will help him rise to the challenge of earning a place in the City team.

The England international completed a £15 million move from Everton to become Mancini's first summer signing. And the 21-year-old hopes to develop his game at Etihad Stadium after admitting it will not be easy to break into the City side.

Rodwell was used in midfield by David Moyes but played much of his junior football as a centre-back and, with Mancini unable to strengthen his defence and Richards out for a month, an opportunity could come there.

He said: "I can play in a few positions. Hopefully I can add that to the Man City squad. I am still young and here with great players. I want to learn from them and improve my game. It's going to be a challenge and I am up for the challenge but I believe in my ability.

"Everton are a great team with great players, but I feel it is a step up. I came here to challenge myself mentally and technically."

Mancini added: "He can play in different positions, he is young and I think he can improve a lot. It is important to put a player like Jack into the squad."

Asked if Rodwell was signed for the long term or to feature immediately, the Italian replied: "For now and for the future. He will have a good future for us and for the national team."

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