Micah Richards thanks Manchester United legend for changing his life with 'kick up the a***' speech
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Richards, now one of the most-loved pundits in English football, played with Cole during the striker's brief spell at City in the 2005-06 season.
Former England international Richards was promoted to the first-team squad shortly after ex-United striker Cole joined City on a free transfer following his departure from Fulham.
Making his senior debut as a 17-year-old, Richards quickly established himself as a regular starter for City and appeared destined for stardom.
In his upcoming book titled The Game: Player. Pundit. Fan., which will be released on October 27, Richards reveals how Cole gave him a crucial piece of advice that season that would remain with him throughout his career.
"One day, when I was still spending money like it was about to run out, I came into training with an all-diamond watch. It had cost me a fortune and I was keen to show it off. Andrew Cole was unimpressed," said Richard, in an excerpt from his book published by the Daily Mail.
"He asked: 'What do you think you're doing?' I was offended. I started to argue with him, to tell him not to criticise, but he didn't rise to it.
"He just asked me where my parents were living. They were still in their old house in Chapeltown, I said. 'And how much would that house cost?' he asked.
"I didn't know, but I was pretty sure a watch made entirely from diamonds would make a decent deposit. 'And yet you're buying this,' he said, pointing at the watch.
"'If you've done what you need to do, buy whatever you want,' he said. 'But don't buy all this stuff first when you don't have all the other stuff lined up. Don't fall into that trap.'
"I don't think I ever told him, but that speech changed my life. It was a kick up the a***. I don't know why he singled me out for help.
"Maybe he saw me as a younger version of himself: a young black kid who was going to have to work out what to do with all of the money coming his way.
"It was a little bit of harsh reality that I needed. I made sure, from that point on, that my future and my family's future was secure — and I bought my parents a house."
Richards would go on to make 245 first-team appearances for City, eventually leaving to join Aston Villa in 2015 – a decade after his senior debut.
He would spend four injury-plagued years at Villa before finally hanging up his boots in 2019.
Richards has since forged a successful career in television and is now works for the likes of Sky Sports and the BBC.
But it could have been very different, had it not been for Cole's shrewd advice all those years ago.