Micah Richards burst onto the footballing scene at a young age and in recent years he’s burst onto the punditry scene too but it could have been very different as the ex-England international has revealed to Rob Burrow how he almost signed for Leeds Rhinos.
Richards debuted at 17 for Manchester City and was already an England international at 18 but speaking to Leeds Rhinos legend Rob Burrow he’s explained how rugby league could have been the sport for him.
The Leeds born lad was actually on the books of Leeds United as a youngster before joining Manchester City, but that Leeds connection meant he was a huge fan of the Rhinos.
Speaking on Burrow’s podcast ‘Seven’, Richards explained that he once bought a signed Kevin Sinfield shirt at a Rhinos charity auction but that he was always a fan of the brilliant number seven.
“I said to Kev, ‘you were good but Rob was better’, the way you’d take the challenges and then just go again. I was just like wow and I wasn’t always into rugby, I was brought up on football but watching Rhinos was just amazing. Absolutely amazing.”
On his potential rugby career, he added: “I did play rugby at school and I did actually get scouted for Leeds, you can ask them as well. It’s in writing and I remember, but my dad always said to me ‘do you want to play rugby or football?’
“I just thought that rugby was a little bit ferocious for me, so I chose football. Rugby is a sport I always loved but with my knees I don’t think I could have coped with it.”
Much of Richards’ punditry career has come during the era of VAR, the controversial Video Assistant Referee system that football adopted in 2018 and the ex-Manchester City man had a strong opinion on how differently football uses video technology compared to rugby league.
“VAR is shocking,” Richards exclaimed. “It needs to go ASAP, it is spoiling it not just for us as broadcasters but for the fans. The fans don’t even know what’s going on in the game.
“The decisions that they make are completely different to the decisions they make a week later. It’s ruining football.
“In rugby I think it works well because when they’re doing the decision it goes to the screen and they’re talking through it. ‘This is why it’s a try, this is what they’ve done here’ etc, I don’t think it ruins the flow of it in rugby.
“In football when we’re used to end to end and you’re stopping for moments of three or four minutes, no. It’s got to go. VAR in the bin for sure, no doubt!”
You can listen to the full episode here.