The Manchester City defender has been recalled to the England squad by Stuart Pearce, ending virtually four years as an outsider.
Richards collected a single cap under Fabio Capello, as a second-half substitute in a friendly defeat by France in November 2010.
It was felt the Italian did not believe Richards' defensive abilities were up to the standards required.
However, first choice under previous boss Steve McClaren, who turned Richards into England's youngest defender, the full-back never received an explanation for his continued omission.
And when he was called into the squad for the Three Lions' crucial Euro 2012 qualifiers with Bulgaria and Montenegro, but then never even made the bench as Chris Smalling and Phil Jones were picked out of position instead, Richards realised the situation was not likely to change.
"I was only there because of injuries, not because he wanted me there," said Richards.
"To be frozen out of the international team, it hurts. I am just being honest. Everyone wants to play for their national team.
"I never had an explanation. I always asked the question but I was never given an answer.
"I didn't get a chance under Capello. If I get one under Stuart Pearce, Harry Redknapp or whoever it is I will be delighted.
"If I go in, have a stinker and don't get picked again, I will hold my hands up. I will be happy just to get that chance."
Normally the most jovial of characters, Richards admitted there were times when he felt bemused and upset at the constant rejection, especially at a time when he was so secure with his club that Roberto Mancini made him skipper during Vincent Kompany's recent absence.
"Of course I felt it," he said.
"Every player wants to play for their country, especially when they are at a team that is doing so well.
"He (Capello) had his favourites. He liked Glen Johnson and Kyle Walker.
"Sometimes as a player, you just have to take it on the chin. If the manager fancies someone else, you have to deal with it."
Thankfully, Richards opted not to book his summer holidays early.
More than any other player he stands to benefit from Capello's exit, which, despite the obvious personal benefits, left him with mixed feelings.
"I was surprised when he went," he said.
"I thought we had just started to get a little bit back from the players.
"A lot of people thought he was this strict schoolteacher. By the end of it, he was really good with the lads. He was really chilled out.
"I thought we had a good chance this summer but it was not meant to be."
Not that Richards believes he can start packing for Poland and Ukraine just yet either.
For all the tweaking Pearce has done to the Three Lions squad for Wednesday's meeting with the 2010 beaten World Cup finalists, all the players who stood in Richards' way under Capello have been included.
"Some people said I might get a chance but I didn't want to say that," he said.
"Kyle Walker has been playing well. Glen Johnson has been doing well at Liverpool. The boys at Manchester United offer another option as well.
"I don't automatically think I am going to get a chance.
"You never know what is going to happen in football.
"If I was to get on the plane, I would be the proudest man."