The 25-year-old enjoyed a stellar campaign at Elland Road, and has subsequently established himself as a key member of Gareth Southgate’s England squad, starting all four of the Three Lions’ matches at Euro 2020 so far.
Phillips could be in line for another nod in tonight’s quarter-final showdown against Ukraine, and Richards is in little doubt that he is fully deserving of his spot in Southgate’s plans.
Writing in a column for the Daily Mail, he said: “Before the start of last season, I was asked to pick a player from each club as one to watch. It was one of my first tasks as a Sportsmail columnist.
"For Leeds, my selection was Kalvin Phillips I’d watched them a lot during their promotion campaign and knew he was good.
“‘It is hard to get on the ball and play in the Championship but he did it brilliantly,’ I wrote in September. ‘He is known as a defensive midfielder, for tackling and hard work and stuff like that, but don’t put him in a bracket. He can go up another level.’
“I got that last sentence wrong. He’s gone up another two or three levels and his performance against Germany was just sensational.
“When you watch him live in a stadium, you can see there is so much more, how good he is on the ball. Phillips is going to be an England player for a very long time.”