Micah Richards has admitted he might have to accept the heartbreak of leaving Manchester City to save his career.

Richards will spend the next six months deciding whether to accept the Blues' offer of a new contract.

But his answer will depend on much more than money – and the former England defender accepts his future will hinge on whether he is able to force his way into Manuel Pellegrini’s team on a more regular basis.

Richards, 25, had last season wrecked by injuries – and saw Pablo Zabaleta become City’s player of the year.

He said: “My contract is up at the end of next season and, although I’ve already spoken to City and know that they are happy to extend my deal, I’ve told them I want to see how many games I play this season.

“I don’t ever want to leave Manchester City, with the way it’s going. But it’s one of those where I will have to look at my career and say, ‘Are you playing enough?’

“Come the end of the season, I’ll do that and, hopefully, I’ll have played enough. But it’s a decision I’ll make from January through to the summer when I see where I’m at.

“I’ve been at City for 11 years, and I don’t see myself anywhere else. But you always have in your mind that playing comes first and that’s what I’ll look at.

“It’s nice that the chairman has said City want me to stay, but, if you ask any footballer, the one thing they want most is to play football.