I do agree with you on the point that he is the better footballer than all of them, but then again there are many left backs in the league who are better footballers than Enrique and i still think he is the best left back in the league, despite Richards limited technical ability i would say that he is arguably the most effective when going forward.
I think if you're a top team playing at home against a bottom 8 team it's much of a muchness between Johnson and Richards. You're more likely to get a bit of subtlety or craft from Johnson, but at the same time Richards at times has looked like Jonah Lomu. He can bully the entire leftside of a poor team to stay on the edge of their own box.
Against the top teams though Johnson stands out like a fucking beacon of footballing ability. I genuinely, with as little bias as I can, say he's the best fullback in the country. Cole and Evra are on the way down. Johnson's composure, comparitive to other English fullbacks - or just fullbacks in England - is staggering. No other fullback scores that goal against Chelsea, not in the dying embers of the match. On the flipside of the coin - every other fullback swings at that opportunity against City, or gets it caught under their feet.
At the highest level, Gerrard can't be trusted in the Center of the field. Alsono had the tecnique and ability required to control and dictate the tempo of a game in a way that Gerrard unfortunately cannot. He also has a wider range of passing IMO. Alonso made us tick in our prime years under Rafa while Torres and Gerrard stole all the headlines.
Englan lack a general who can dictate and control the game in the middle of the pitch. As great as Gerrard is, he just can't do that. This is what England have been missing.
You are replacing technique with intelligence.
Steven Gerrard is a technically superior footballer to Xabi Alonso, and just about everyone else to play the game over the last 10 years. I don't think there's a single footballer planet who scores as high across the board on all 'technical' aspects of the game. Xabi Alonso isn't as technically good as Steven Gerrard. He is, however, a more intelligent footballer. Personal opinion like.
Oh, and for what it's worth, Xabi Alonso is incredibly technically sound and Steven Gerrard has far, far more "game-intelligence" than some people would ever care to admit. That's why Rafa Benitez trusted him to play centre midfield in a European Cup semi-final, and rightback in a final.