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Sven-Goran Eriksson has hailed the performance of Fulham defender Zat Knight in England’s 3-2 win over Colombia in New Jersey.

The Swede also hailed England’s end of season tour of the United States a resounding success as a mixture of the untried and the proven has given him great optimism for the 2006 World Cup finals.

It was rookies such as two-goal Kieran Richardson and Michael Carrick who were at the forefront of the weekend victory over the United States in Chicago.

But, while Carrick again blossomed – plus Jermaine Jenas, Knight, Johnson and Peter Crouch – an old hand in Michael Owen lit up the win over Colombia in the Giants Stadium in New Jersey with a hat-trick.

There were fears ahead of the game about the central defensive partnership of Knight and Johnson, who had only four caps between them, but they exemplified the determination of the young players to make their mark.

Eriksson said: “The whole tour has been fantastic. We have played two good matches and won both of them. We have beaten two teams who also might be in Germany. The positives far outweigh the negatives.

“At the back, Knight and Johnson also did well. Colombia keep the ball very well so when you defend against them, if you don’t have good shape it will be difficult.”