Micah Richards has admitted it was painful being frozen out of the international fold.

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."

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