Chris Coleman praised Zat Knight last week ahead of the central defender’s first start of the season against Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Saturday.
Speaking before Fulham's game against the Magpies the Whites Manager spoke of Knight’s hard work and positive attitude on the training ground.
“Zat has been fantastic in training and his attitude has been tip top” said Coleman, “I am looking at him now and I see the same Zat Knight that I saw three years ago when I first got the job, he wants to impress, he wants his place back in the side, and now it’s up to him.”
Knight's chance came immediately in Fulham’s Premiership clash with Newcastle. Playing alongside Ian Pearce in the centre of Fulham's defence, Knight's impressive performance kept Newcastle's attack at bay, helping secure a 2-1 victory over the Magpies. Indeed, the Guardian’s Monday morning match report stated that the defender had marked Obafemi Martins, Newcastle’s £10m signing from Internazionale, “into submission.”
As Coleman pointed out last week, long term success cannot be measured in one game and the Welshman is looking for consistency over the course of the season from all his players.
“He (Zat) is a good player and he has a lot of potential but you can only have ‘potential’ for so long. Now, while he’s got a lot of good tools in his locker, he’s got to bring them out and use them on a more consistent basis. I know he’s capable of doing that.”
Having impressed with his work ethic on the training ground and earned a place in the side against Newcastle, the towering centre back looks set for another successful season under the guidance of Chris Coleman. However, with Ian Pearce, Philippe Christanval and Carlos Bocanegra all competing for places, competition for the two centre back berths looks set to be fierce this season.