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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 May, 2005, 09:18 GMT 10:18 UK
Eriksson joy at Richardson debut
Kieran Richardson
Sven-Goran Eriksson hailed Manchester United youngster Kieran Richardson's "fantastic" two-goal debut after England's friendly win against the USA.

The 20-year-old, who ended the season on loan at West Bromwich Albion, was the hero of England's 2-1 victory.

Boss Eriksson said: "For a young player to score twice and play like he did is fantastic. The free-kick was a great goal and he did very well for us.

"We have been criticised for coming here, but this was very useful."

Eriksson added: "Our young players showed a lot of talent out there. To come to America with such a young side, play good football and win is fantastic for us.

"I have seen Kieran Richardson myself three or four times this season. He has done well and the reports we have had back from the scouts have also said the same sort of thing.

"He is a big talent who has done well at West Brom. I would not say that this has secured his World Cup ticket but he is one of those pressing their claims."

The ankle injury to Sol Campbell was because of the pitch. They are not used to playing on such hard pitches
Sven-Goran Eriksson

Debut hero Richardson said: "To score in the first four minutes is just unbelieveable. It's such an honour to play for your country and to score is great.

"I was a bit nervous before the game but when I scored it settled me right down."

Richardson was substituted after half-time and revealed: "I felt a little twinge in my hamstring, so we will see how it settles down.

"It hasn't quite sunk in yet but maybe it will when I get home and see the reaction of people."

Eriksson was concerned about a rock-hard surface at Soldier Field in Chicago and he said: "The ankle injury to Sol Campbell was because of the pitch. They are not used to playing on such hard pitches."

Joe Cole said: "We played well in the first half then in the second half we picked up a few injuries and it seemed the travelling caught up with us a bit. But it was a good backs-to-the-wall performance.

"It's welcome to have good competition at this level. Now you have the likes of myself, Stewart Downing and Kieran Richardson staking a claim to the place and giving the boss a good problem to have, which he has not had for a few years.

"I did OK. I felt quite tired at the end but I will be ready for Colombia on Tuesday. We need to keep the victories going. We need to go out and win. We know the importance of playing for your country.

"Winning is a habit - you can't turn it on and off. We need to take it the winning form into the World Cup qualifiers."

USA coach Bruce Arena also paid tribute Richardson as he said: "He had a quiet game, except he scored two goals.

"He took a great free-kick. I could use a 'quiet' player like that on my team."

Interview: England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson

Interview: Kieran Richardson and Joe Cole

Interview: Michael Carrick


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