England boost for Richards
WINNING his first England cap has done wonders for Matt Richards.The 20-year-old Ipswich Town left back feels he can now make headway in his career after playing for England against Ukraine at Under-21 level on Tuesday.
WINNING his first England cap has done wonders for Matt Richards.
The 20-year-old Ipswich Town left back feels he can now make headway in his career after playing for England against Ukraine at Under-21 level on Tuesday.
Richards played in the first half of a 3-1 friendly victory at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, and did well enough to expect another call-up when England's youngsters play Austria and Poland away early next month.
“I have not been at my best for Ipswich this season,” admitted Richards, who was substituted during the second half of last Saturday's 3-2 defeat at Derby County.
“I know I can play better and the confidence boost of playing for England has come just at the right time for me.
“We all said pre-season that getting off to a good start was vital this year and we need to step up a gear after our poor display at Derby.
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“There is a lot more to come from the team and from me and the higher we go during the first part of the season the better.
“We are all focused on making a serious challenge for promotion to the Barclays Premiership and there is enough quality in the squad for this to happen.”
Richards expected to shrug off a gash around his ankle to face Cardiff City at Portman Road today. He has become a regular since breaking into the side at the start of last season.
“We do not have a large squad, but as long as we do not suffer too many injuries we are equipped to make an impact,” said the defender who hails from Harlow and came through the Ipswich Town Academy.
Richards was joined by Town team-mates Darren Bent and Ian Westlake in the England party in a week when Ipswich goalkeeper Lewis Price made his Welsh Under-21 debut in a 0-0 draw in Latvia.
Bent came on to score the third goal, while Westlake sat on the bench with new rules limiting the number of substitutions that can now be made.
“Darren is already an England regular, and I am sure Ian will make his debut soon,” said Richards. “I have never been involved in international football at any level before and it has given me a real lift.”