He played over 100 games for Swansea City before playing Premier League football for both Hull City and Bolton Wanderers. He left Bolton in 2013 and captained Wolves to the League One title with a record points total.
Ricketts' family is highly involved in equestrianism. His father is the 1978 world showjumping champion Derek Ricketts, later performance manager of the UK showjumping team from 2002 to 2010, and his uncle is the former National Hunt champion jockey John Francome. As a teenager, Ricketts himself was a keen rider until prioritising football.
Ricketts began his career at Oxford United, making his first team debut on 8 October 2000 in a 2–1 defeat at rivals Swindon Town. During his time at Oxford United he had a brief spell on loan at Nuneaton Borough before being released from his professional contract to sign for Conference National side Telford United in the summer of 2003. His form for Telford led him to be selected for the England non-League XI that season.
Telford United went out of business at the end of the 2003–04 season, meaning Ricketts' contract was annulled. Swansea manager Kenny Jackett offered him a return to league football though, and he joined Swansea City on 27 May 2004.
He helped the team to promotion from League Two in his first season, during which he was selected in the division's PFA Team of the Year. At the end of the campaign he was rewarded for his performances with a new improved contract. His second season saw the team reach the League One Play-off Final, but Ricketts was part of the team that lost on penalties to Barnsley.
After 103 appearances in total for Swansea, Ricketts moved to Championship club Hull City on 14 July 2006 for a fee of £300,000 (triggering a minimum fee release clause in his contract). He started every minute of Hull's first ten games but sustained a broken cheekbone in the tenth game – a win against Hartlepool United – that required an operation, thereby ruling him out for several weeks. He made 45 appearances during the season, and scored his first, and ultimately, only goal for Hull in March 2007 against Southend.
The defender was part of the Hull team that won promotion to the Premier League for the first time in the club's history at the end of the 2007–08 season; he played in their Championship play-off final victory over Bristol City. Hull manager Phil Brown had stated in advance of this that he wanted to extend Ricketts' contract due to his performances.
Ricketts made 29 league appearances for the Tigers in their inaugural top flight campaign, as they narrowly avoided relegation on the final day of the season. Following this, he entered into talks regarding a new deal with the club, but had been linked to other Premier League sides.
On 25 July 2009, fellow Premier League side Bolton Wanderers confirmed Ricketts had signed a three-year deal with them for an undisclosed fee. He made his debut in a 0–1 defeat to Sunderland on 15 August and went on to play in every defensive position for the club.
In February 2011 he suffered a snapped Achilles tendon during an FA Cup Replay against Wigan Athletic, which put him out of first team contention until the end of the year. He made his return on New Year's Eve 2011, where he also scored his first Bolton goal, in a 1–1 draw against his future club Wolverhampton Wanderers. Ricketts' contract expired at the end of the 2011–12 season but, despite Bolton being relegated from the Premier League, he signed a new two-year deal with the club in the summer of 2012. On 4 July 2013, after a season in which the team failed to make an instant return to the top flight, Bolton confirmed that his contract had been cancelled by mutual agreement.
He later expressed his surprise at leaving Bolton Wanderers.
On the same day as his exit from Bolton, Ricketts joined Wolverhampton Wanderers of League One as a free agent in a two-year deal, reuniting with his former Swansea manager Kenny Jackett. Having been appointed club captain, he made his club debut on 3 August 2013 in a goalless draw at Preston. Ricketts was a regular member of the Wolves team that won the League One title that season with a record 103 points. He scored his first goal for the club in a 6–4 win against Rotherham United on 18 April 2014.
Back in the Championship, Ricketts seldom featured for Wolves, despite remaining club captain, and in January 2015 was made available for loan. Soon after he took on a coaching role at the club, but on 21 March 2015, left to join League One promotion contenders Swindon Town on loan for the remainder of the season. He helped the club to the play-off final, scoring an equaliser in the semi-final at Sheffield United, but the Robins lost the Wembley final 0–4 to Preston, in which Ricketts came on as an early substitute.
On 17 June 2015 it was announced that his contract with Wolves will not be renewed.
Ricketts signed for Coventry City on 6 July 2015 signing a one-year deal with the club. In July 2016 his contract was extended until the end of the 2016-17 season. On 16 November 2016, he was forced to retire from football because of a knee injury.
Although born in England, Ricketts is eligible for the Wales national football team due to a Welsh grandmother. He made his international debut for Wales on 9 February 2005 in a friendly against Hungary that was John Toshack's first game in charge after his return as manager.As of 18 August 2016
FAW Premier Cup (1): 2006
Championship Play-off Winner (1): 2008
Football League One Champions (1): 2013–14
PFA League Two Team of the Year (1): 2004–05
PFA League One Team of the Year (1): 2013–14