The contrasting fortunes of Micah and Nedum
With news that Nedum Onuoha is set to join Sunderland on loan for the season, there also appeared on the official site an interview with Micah Richards positively describing his fight for a first team place.
“He is like me; he can play happily in both so I can see a battle ahead! We are around the same age and I am sure we can spur one another along.
“I am well up for the challenge of what lies ahead.”
Micah’s words contrasted sharply with those of Nedum in his Soccer AM appearance at the end of last season. Where Nedum has seen his place taken by the likes of Kolo Toure and Jerome Boateng, Micah is hanging on in there.
Roberto Mancini may well have liked to sign Maicon or Dani Alves in this transfer window, and either would surely have heralded Micah’s departure. Without these A-list signings the opportunity remains for Micah to realise his potential with the club.
Mancini’s recent comments about how Micah’s body may be on the pitch but not his brain appear intended to motivate rather than condemn the player. Micah has responded with a decent showing in pre-season culminating in the Valencia game.
It must have been slightly galling then to see Boateng ooze quality within a couple of minutes of being switched to right-back, by gliding past three opponents to cross for the first goal. Yet Micah is not one to lack self-confidence and if he heeds Mancini’s words then there could be a great season ahead for our former youth team skipper.
Meanwhile Nedum gets the privelege of playing alongside Titus Bramble and under Steve Bruce. You have to feel some sympathy.
It’s been reported that Sunderland will have an option to buy Nedum at the end of the loan. So does this spell the end of his City career? Probably, but not necessarily if we bear in mind what happened with Joe Hart. Many believed Joe had played his last game for the club when he departed on loan to Birmingham.
If Nedum stays fit and shows the form that made him our best defender in the second half of the 2008/09 season, then his career could be rejuvenated. Critics claim he is not a top of the range world class defender, and he does lack a couple of inches in height to be dominant in the Premier League.
Yet he’s easily as good as the likes of Matthew Upson who made the England team in the World Cup. Wes Brown has picked up a host of medals and England caps by being a decent squad member at Old Trafford. Nedum could have played a similar role for us.
If things go badly for City then there’s no guarantee that Mancini will be with City next season and the door could be open for Nedum’s return, particularly if he has a ‘Joe Hart season’ on Wearside.