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 after being first choice under previous boss Steve McClaren.
"To be frozen out of the international team, it hurts. I am just being honest. Everyone wants to play for their national team," he said. "I never had an explanation. I always asked the question but I was never given an answer."
He added: "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."