The 22-year-old enjoyed a meteoric rise that saw him break into the England team at the age of 18 and earn himself a £50,000-a-week contract at Eastlands.
But when his form slipped, it was suggested that his stints as a celebrity DJ were taking their toll.
Richards said: "Sometimes I was going into games and my mind wasn't right.
"I was thinking about things too much. I was distracted by all the players coming in and I was getting linked with Spurs and Liverpool.
"My mates start asking you 'what's happening, are you staying? Is the club selling you?' I felt a bit disenchanted by that.
"I wanted to stay at City and prove myself and be part of the future here and it can play on the mind."
He added: "I've been here since I was 15 and because of the ambitions of the club and the financial backing there's no reason I can't stay for a long time and achieve what I want to at City.
"When you look at Man United, at Giggs, Scholes and Neville, they've been there from a young age and every year they fight for their place and they keep winning things.
"I'd love to do that at City. I'd love to be here for 20 years, win every trophy and be considered a City legend - just like they're all United legends. I love Manchester and love this club."