Richards, 19, will wear the captain's armband today against Aston Villa and Eriksson said: "I think it's a good idea and I think everyone can see why.
"I don't know him extremely well yet - I didn't know he had captained the youth team, for instance - but what I see here every day is a happy face, someone who never moans about going running or going to the gym. Not that he needs to go to the gym. He's strong, strong, strong already.<> "Even though he is young he is a great professional. I've seen talented young players before, Wayne Rooney, for instance, and Roberto Baggio, but I've never had one with such physical presence.
"I hope his contract situation can be sorted out in the next couple of weeks. I'm not surprised he has been linked with big clubs in the past, but I really hope we can keep him. If we can sign a new contract with him it would be maybe our best signing so far. I don't even want to think about selling him, you couldn't put a price on him for a start. The transfer fee would be out of the roof and I'm not just saying that because I am manager of Manchester City. Anyone would tell you the same thing."