Micah Richards has spoken out about the social media abuse he has received in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Richards was speaking on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football programme where he has become a regular and popular pundit, but he has also been on the receiving end of accusations of preferential treatment due to BLM.

“If a black person, a black or ethnic minority wants a chance they’ve got to put themselves forward,’ Richards said. “I’m here working for Sky Sports, one of the biggest networks, corporations in the world. I’m here because I believed in myself. I love working with Jamie (Carragher), I love working with yourself (David Jones) and I’m in a privileged position. I did this through hard work. The hard work is not going to be tarnished.

“I’ve got people on Twitter, I’ve got people people on Instagram: ‘Oh. Micah Richards is only on air because of this whole Black Lives Matter movement’.

“But I’ve had conversations with corporations that I work for way before this and now I’m getting tarnished with the same brush “oh he’s only on TV because of Black Lives Matter”.

“Which is disheartening for me because I put in the work, I work every single day at my craft. I’ve been a professional footballer, I’ve won a Premier League. I’ve played at the highest level and I’m still getting stones thrown at me. If I have to fly the flag, if people want to throw stones at me, I’ll happily take it because I know I put in the work.”

Richards also defended former England and Arsenal player Alex Scott, who has also been on the receiving end of abuse on social media amid news she is set to replace Sue Barker as the presenter of the BBC quiz show A Question of Sport.

“She’s absolutely incredible, one of the best I’ve ever worked with,” said Richards. “It’s even worse for her because she’s a woman and she’s seen as black as well. It’s double jeopardy. She’s in a worse position.

“She’s honestly one of the best pundits I’ve ever worked with and all you see on Twitter and Instagram: ‘what is a woman doing working in men’s football, she doesn’t know’.

“She’s played how many times for England, she knows football inside out, more than most people and to see the abuse that she gets just because someone has left their job or not had their contract renewed, it’s disheartening to see.

“But at the same time it shows that we’ve still got a problem. It’s that awkward conversation that we don’t want to have but we’ve got to have that conversation.”