Richards has already been confirmed as a new signing for Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood, which has provided him with the stability which he feels he was missing in 2014 when he joined Serie A side Fiorentina late in the transfer window.
“I am delighted the deal was done so quickly. I have a full pre-season now to get my fitness up and I can also get to know everyone,” he told avfc.co.uk.
“That was a problem in Florence because I signed on the last day of the transfer window.”
“Everyone else had already done their pre-season. I had to break my way into the team having gone there so late.”
Chance to address a key concern
Richards has a chance to prove that the injury issues which have plagued him in the past are no longer a problem.
He’s got a full pre-season to show manager Tim Sherwood, the club’s fans and his new teammates that he’s fit, strong and in great shape to have an instant impact with the club.
That’s also significant for him from a mental point of view because it will give him a spring in his step and some extra motivation when he looks back at the adversity he’s suffered in the past.
Chance to learn and adapt
It’s not just a chance for Richards to prove he’s fitter than ever before, he’s got a chance to learn and adapt to his new club and teammates, which improves his chances of hitting the ground running next season.
He can get on the same page as Sherwood in terms of how the Villa boss wants him to play, forming connections and important partnerships across the club's backline, which should make the team much tougher to break down.