Born: Solihull, 2 May 1980

Nationality: English

International caps: 2

International goals: 0

Signed: 19 February 1999 from Rushall Olympic

Fulham debut: Fulham 4-1 Northampton Town, 5 September 2000

Fulham appearances: 181

Fulham goals: 4

Honours: InterToto Cup winners (2002)

Sold: 29 August 2007 to Aston Villa (£4.5m)

Zat Knight was signed for Fulham’s academy from Rushall Olympic in February 1999 after a successful scouting trip to the West Midlands by Arthur Cox. The teenager was not tied to a contract at Rushall but Mohamed Al-Fayed sent the club thirty tracksuits as a gesture of solidarity. Knight was a highly regarded member of Fulham’s academy and was tried in midfield on Jean Tigana’s instructions in order to improve his distribution.

Tigana handed the 6ft 7in centre back a debut in the League Cup against Northampton Town in September 2000 and made his Premier League debut the following season at Leicester City. Knight quickly became a regular in the Fulham first team and did not look out of place with a series of composed displays. After starring as the Whites finished ninth in Chris Coleman’s first full season in charge, Knight signed a new deal to keep him at Craven Cottage until 2008.

Knight scored from a short free-kick on the final day of the 2005 season as Fulham thumped Norwich City 6-0, sending the Canaries down. His consistent displays caught the eye of England coach Sven Goran Eriksson, who handed Knight a call-up to the Three Lions’ squad on their summer tour to the United States. Knight made his international debut against the USA and won a second cap against Colombia three days later.

Knight was one of Fulham’s top performers in a 2006-07 season that eventually saw Coleman lose his job and he deputised for club captain Luis Boa Morte when the Portuguese winger was sidelined by injury. Incoming Fulham boss Lawrie Sanchez signed a surfeit of new defenders and sold Knight to his boyhood club Aston Villa for £4.5m in August 2007.