The England international told City's website: "It is not just about all the lads who have come through at the top level, and there are plenty of those around the first team squad at the moment, but also those who have gone on to have successful careers in other divisions and made a good living for themselves."
And despite 25 players already coming through the ranks to turn out for the first team, Richards expects that number to grow, sooner rather than later.
He added: "There is a good crop of players coming through at the moment, I don't want to mention any names because that is unfair, but some of them will be pushing for the first team in future.
"But they have some fine players and I think a couple of them might find their way to Carrington next summer.
"We have had one or two there already and I should like to see a couple more with us next season. We are lucky to have such a great Academy structure and that the people who work there are so good at their jobs."