Manchester City defender Nedum Onuoha feels confident manager Sven Goran Eriksson won't shun local talent in favour of big foreign signings.
Onuoha's only start for his club in three appearances this season came in the Carling Cup win over Bristol City but he is pleased to see the club doing well and is confident his chance will come.
"For me personally I've been at the club for so long and it is good to see something positive happening in terms of new ownership, new players and a new mindset," he said.
"It's good but at the same time you know you will have to fight even harder for your place because the manager is bringing in players who are top quality from all over Europe.
"It's good to see the club progressing but you also know you have to knuckle down."
Onuoha found the net as England Under-21 got their Euro 2009 qualifying campaign off to a winning start against Montenegro on Friday under the guidance of former City boss Stuart Pearce.
A lot has changed at Eastlands since Pearce left in May and Onuoha - who, like Richards can play at centre-back or right-back - feels he can learn from the players Eriksson has brought in.
"I'd say so, because someone from Italy has got a different sort of mentality to the way they go about their training to someone from Spain," Onuoha explained.
"Javier Garrido is quite laid back whereas some of the Italians are always in the gym before a training session just working on little things.
"It is good to see, and you find your middle ground in between both approaches."