Richard Dunne and Micah Richards have been the two most consistent City players and team leaders. Under Stuart Pearce, Dunne turned around his once sagging career and became on of the most solid central defenders in the Premier League. Also under Pearce, Richards blossomed into a top England prospect and began earning regular call ups to the national team.
Under Sven Goran Eriksson, both players continued their ascent and entering this season they appeared to be the core of a squad that would contend for a European place. However, as we approach the New Year and the January transfer window, City is mired in the relegation zone, and the defensive pair seem to be a big reason why City is struggling.
Mark Hughes is a tactically sound British manager. It requires more than dumb luck to nearly qualify Wales for a major European competition as well Blackburn for Europe. More often than not individual errors by the likes of Dunne and Richards have cost City points while the press is having fun casting blame on Hughes himself.
A manager can only do so much to put his players, especially his most experienced and talented footballers in a position to succeed. The last several days the press has been pushing a “House Divided” theme. I’ll have my thoughts on this situation later this week, but for a quick read and links to the stories please visit our friends at Bitter and Blue .
My thinking is Dunne, the team captain, and Richards the clubs most accomplished international who was not signed this season need to step up and unite the team behind Hughes publicly. If Dunne and Richards do not, perhaps they need to be held accountable not only for their subpar form, but also for their lack of leadership.