Micah Richards: How I got swine flu on a lads' holiday to Ayia Napa - and the thing I crave late at night...

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Former Manchester City and England defender, Micah Richards, 35, answers our health quiz 

Can you run up stairs?

Of course. I know everyone thinks I'm big now, but I can still run up and down the stairs. I try to train every day.

Get your five a day?

Not a chance. I'm a meat-eater. And eggs. I like protein and carbs. I know I should be finding time for greens, but I don't. I might eat the odd grape if it's in a bowl where I'm filming, but that's about it. The only veg I eat very occasionally is sweetcorn.

I'm sure my old nutritionists would not be happy at all.

Ever dieted?

I'm 5ft 11in and when I first came through as a player, I was really lean — about 90kg [14st 2lb]. But then I started getting injuries and having less playing time and more gym time, so I bulked up.

My arms and legs got bigger and when I finished my playing career, I was about 100kg [15st 7lb]. I'm now 105kg [16st 5lb]. If I keep putting on weight at this pace, I'm going to burst, but a lot of that is muscle mass.

Former England and Manchester City star Micah Richards still trains every day and runs up and down stairs

Micah Richards in action during the FA Cup quarter final in 2006 between Manchester City and West Ham

Micah Richards in action during the FA Cup quarter final in 2006 between Manchester City and West Ham

Any vices?

Chinese food. After a late night I get a craving for it. Special fried rice, spare ribs . . . but you won't find me eating that after recording Match Of The Day with Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer. Gary goes back to London and Alan goes straight back to Newcastle, but that's fine. I'll stick with the younger crowd. Those boys are getting old.

Any family ailments?

My auntie had cancer but my parents are still alive and kicking. My mum is 62 and looks amazing for her age, and my dad is 64 and is starting to age a little, but they're both in good shape.

Worst illness/injury?

I got swine flu in 2019 on a lads' holiday to Ayia Napa. All six of us went out and we all felt ropey the morning after.

I thought it was just too much Singapore fried rice, then it felt more than that. The doctor came over, tested us all and said I'd contracted swine flu. I had no idea how serious it was so initially thought: 'Oh my God, I'm popping my clogs. This is it. I'm going to die.'

Micah Richards says eating Chinese food is his vice late at night when he gets a craving for it

Micah Richards says eating Chinese food is his vice late at night when he gets a craving for it

I was put into quarantine in my hotel room for five or six days while my mates went back to the UK. I was fine after that, but the silver lining was that I lost 5kg.

Injury-wise, my worst was when my meniscus went in a game against Swansea, when I was at Man City. My leg locked, and I couldn't straighten or bend my knee. I was out for eight months. It was horrible.

I also used to have compartment syndrome, which is a painful increase of pressure inside a muscle, so I had the front of both of my legs sliced open to let the muscle breathe. Before that, it used to just cramp up after I'd walked ten metres. If it wasn't for that I'd have 200 caps for England.

Pop any pills?

The only thing I take is the occasional anti-inflammatory tablet for my knee if I'm doing something that might make it swell up, like a rally I did on A League Of Their Own.

Had anything removed?

My meniscus. I've had about five operations for it. I'm bone on bone now.

Cope well with pain?

Yes, but if I see blood, I'm like a wincing baby.

Tried alternative remedies?

I do acupuncture occasionally to relieve tension in my muscles, when I've been spending too long with Alan Shearer. Just kidding, Alan!

Ever been depressed?

Not now, but at times when I was playing, as football can take you to the highest highs and the lowest lows.

Hangover cure?

I don't need one. I can drink all night and be totally fine. It's my superpower.

What keeps you awake at night?

Overthinking. I always want to get things right when I'm a pundit — so, for example, if I'm doing Match Of The Day and finish in the studio at ­midnight, I might not go to bed until 4am as I'm replaying the show in my mind. I don't want to make the same mistake next time.

Any phobias?

Heights. Spiders. Flying. I'm a big softy.

Like to live for ever?

No. Life is for living. I've already lived my dream and met some amazing people — so when your time is done, your time is done.

Micah Richards is working with Hellmann's, official BBQ partner of  UEFA Euro 2024. See @HellmannsUK on Instagram

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