City have often been criticized in recent years for purchasing world class players instead of giving youngsters from their academy a chance to impress in the first team.
However, things are changing at City and upon the heavy investment from the club to upgrade the youth facilities; a host of talented young players such as Kelechi Iheanacho, Jason Denayer, Rony Lopes and Brandon Barker have emerged.
Richards was one of the few City academy players who made a mark in the seniors after making his debut in 2005 and the new Aston Villa man has now urged the current crop of City youngsters to kick on and establish themselves in the senior side.
Richards told CityTV: "The academy was at Platt Lane and if you ever thought you'd win a Premier League you'd just laugh.
"Having seen this place now (the City Football Academy) - the first time I've seen it since getting back from Italy, it makes me happy because I know the players here, if they're good enough, they'll get a chance, especially with the facilities now.
"I hope there's another one that can come through and not just play one or two games but really make a career for themselves here."