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MICAH RICHARDS: Aguero is the man I'd choose to score to save my life

MICAH RICHARDS: Sergio Aguero is the man I’d choose to score to save my life… he’s a better finisher than the legendary Thierry Henry and has been seriously under-appreciated

  • Micah Richards thinks Sergio Aguero has been underappreciated in England
  • Richards didn’t immediately see the hype with Aguero when he was in training 
  • However, Aguero’s brilliant debut against Swansea City changed his mind
  • Aguero’s dramatic title-clincher against QPR was a prime example of his work 

If Sergio Aguero had been the face of an advertising campaign, would people be more respectful and appreciative of his talents?

I often wonder whether we realise what a player we have watched for the last 10 seasons. Aguero has had as big an impact on English football as Thierry Henry. 

He might not be as easy on the eye as Henry in terms of style but he is a better finisher than the Arsenal legend.

Micah Richards thinks Sergio Aguero has not received enough credit for his spell in England

Richards believes Aguero is a sharper finisher than the iconic Arsenal forward Thierry Henry

Henry, though, will always command affection. He was the man with ‘Va va voom!’ — he is charismatic and played football with a swagger. 

He gave revealing interviews and had a spell as a pundit before he turned to management. If you didn’t support Arsenal, I bet you still liked Henry.

Most people, on the other hand, wouldn’t know a great deal about Sergio. It makes me think the fact he is a quiet man has stopped him being recognised as one of the greats of the modern era, a striker who Manchester City will never be able to truly replace.

Without Sergio, I wouldn’t have a Premier League winner’s medal. He scored 23 League goals in 2011-12 and was directly responsible for providing nine points to our total of 89, but that simple statistic doesn’t do him justice. It’s better to refer to him as a moment-in-time player.

The amazing thing is, I wondered what all the fuss was about him when he first came into training. 

In those first couple of sessions, following his £35million arrival from Atletico Madrid, I looked at him and thought, ‘Is he that special?’   

Robinho made a bigger first impression on Richards than Aguero at first during training drills

Aguero scored twice and set up another on his debut against Swansea City after coming on

He never did anything other than in second gear. His finishing was good but nothing that made you think, ‘Wow!’ His reputation was huge but I was struggling to get excited about what he might do for us after a few days at Carrington.

It wasn’t like Robinho, who had joined us from Real Madrid three years earlier. He was incredible from the first minute and he looked every inch the superstar.

If he had joined at the same time as Sergio, when the team were more settled, we’d have a much different opinion of Robinho.

Back to Sergio, and when he came on as a substitute against Swansea, I knew within 30 minutes he would go down as the best striker I had played with. 

I watched the highlights of that performance again to refresh my mind and I had goosebumps.

His first goal, a tap-in at the back post, came from one of the best crosses you will ever see (yes, I provided it) but he scored another from 30 yards and provided an assist for David Silva with an overhead kick from the byline after he refused to give up the chase for a ball. 

The win over the Swans convinced Richards that City signed a star striker in Aguero 

Manchester City won their first Premier League after Aguero’s dramatic winner against QPR

I said to him afterwards, ‘Sergio! Where did that come from? In training, I didn’t see this!’ 

He looked back with a smile and said: ‘Training, tranquillo (stay calm)! The game is important!’

How right he was. Monday to Friday, he did what he had to do, but at the weekend a switch flicked once he crossed the line.

He is relentless at closing people down, clever at how he can bring people into play. Some would have you believe he’s just a poacher. 

It’s a ridiculous thing to say. If I had to pick someone to score to save my life, it would be him every single time. 

His goal against Queens Park Rangers to win the 2011-12 title is the best example of his work. 

The goal is the most dramatic in Premier League history and owed much to Aguero’s quality

Aguero waves to the City fans after finishing the 2014-15 season as the league’s top goalscorer

Watch it and see how he feints and takes an extra touch before deceiving Paddy Kenny and shooting to the near post.

By rights, for all he has accomplished, he should have an ego. Most big strikers do but with Sergio it can be disarming how unassuming he is. 

He goes to work, plays football, goes home. There’s not a hint of arrogance about him, just a quiet lad.

The only time I have really seen his emotions come pouring out was after scoring against QPR. 

In the dressing room afterwards he came out of his shell, but most of the time you wouldn’t know he is there. 

It is the quietness that makes me wonder whether he is taken for granted. Some players have been very good at making themselves brands and creating profiles but none of it has interested Sergio. He gets overlooked but he will be missed when he is gone.

His intention has always been to finish his career back in Argentina but I expect now Pep Guardiola has signed a contract extension that Sergio will do the same. 

Aguero has continued to evolve under current boss Pep Guardiola as City have gone up a level

Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres will have a tough task matching Aguero’s goalscoring feats

Whether it is for 12 months or two years, it is a piece of business I hope City conclude.

City will sign another striker in the future, and hopes are high for Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres, but there is nobody like Sergio.

There will never be another one like him at Manchester City and there haven’t been many better in the Premier League.

It was my privilege to see his talent first-hand.

Micah’s Man of the Week: Declan Rice

The international break saw Jack Grealish, Phil Foden and Mason Mount all enhance their reputations but let’s not overlook another midfielder.

I had always regarded Declan Rice as a central defender playing in midfield but it seems he has become a permanent fixture in England’s team.

Rice has the ability to move back and become one of the best defenders in the Premier League — but he is maturing in the middle and he impressed me against Iceland, alongside Mount.

Declan Rice scored the first goal as England cruised to a 4-0 Nations League win over Iceland 

It felt like England were more fluent and adventurous and I hope this is the way we line up in all the fixtures against nations that we are expected to beat.

Grealish and Foden get people off their seats but every team needs someone like Rice. He is a really good footballer.

Dementia debate must lead to change… now

I am not an expert on dementia but I do know the impact it can have on families and I was moved by Chris Sutton’s interview in these pages earlier this week.

My heart goes out to him and his family for the plight they are facing with his father, Mike. 

If Sportsmail’s campaign accelerates change going forward, then the issue about tackling dementia should not even be up for debate.

Chris Sutton has spoken about his father’s dementia and is leading Sportsmail’s campaign

It needs to happen.

When I was young, I used to love heading. Going up for aerial battles was a big part of my game and there was something old school about getting stuck in.

You would never show any pain, even on the occasions you knew you had hurt your head.

The long-term effects on the brain of heading a football repeatedly need to properly examined

I don’t regret heading the ball so much but I’m glad I’m now aware of the findings.

I remember playing with footballs that were too hard and I am pleased that doesn’t happen any longer.

Young children don’t need to be heading before their neck muscles are properly strengthened and they have an understanding of what they are doing. We need to make things safer.




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