Last Updated: Sun, 07 Oct 2012 14:17
Manchester City's Micah Richards feels fellow defender Joleon Lescott is "one of the best in the league" in his position.
Lescott was a virtual ever present for City last season as they landed the Premier League title but has found himself amongst the substitutes in key matches this season.
The England international centre-half returned to the starting XI on Saturday, with Vincent Kompany sidelined, and helped his side keep a clean sheet as they saw off Sunderland 3-0.
Boss Roberto Mancini has stressed that Lescott remains an important member of the squad and Richards has now backed his team-mate, insisting he is one of the best players in his position in the Premier League.
Richards told City TV: "He is a quality defender.
"A lot of people don't understand how good he is - well, people do because he is playing for England - but he really is a top-class centre-back, one of the best in the league.
"I think last season and at the start of this season he has shown that."
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