England striker to face test in Ukraine

England striker, Lambert,

Ukraine

If you would have asked people last season who Rickie Lambert was, other than Southampton fans you would have found very few people who had ever heard of him.

In fact just ten years ago the Liverpool born striker was a substitute sitting on the bench for Stockport County in an uneventful match against Port Vale.

Now a decade later the 31-year-old finds himself not only playing in the Premiership but the starting striker for the England national team a fairy-tale story in the world of football.

Lambert was called up to the England team pretty much as an extra, as no one had ever considered that he would be preferred over the likes of Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge or Danny Welbeck.

When the Saints man came on against Scotland he immediately made an impact scoring the winning goal after being on the pitch for only four minutes.

“It’s more satisfying still that it was won by a fairy-tale goal from Rickie Lambert,” said Hodgson. “He’s been a breath of fresh air while with us, so happy to be part of the squad, and what a wonderful story that he crowned it with the winning goal.

“He is so enthusiastic; he has been like a young boy with a new toy ever since he joined us.

“He could have gone away with the match ball, with the shot against the post and another that had to be palmed away, but maybe he has to be happy with one goal.”

When the England manager was asked if he thought Lambert had done enough to remain in the squad Hodgeson said: “I guess so. Obviously there might be a bit more competition next time. Daniel Sturridge is hopefully back. Andy Carroll not far from fitness. We’ll see in the next three weeks, but he won’t be being struck off my list very lightly.

Before last night’s World Cup qualifier against Moldova the England manager had little choice but to make Lambert his starting striker after having lost both Wayne Rooney, and Daniel Sturridge to injury, and West Hams Andy Carroll still out.

Lambert did not disappoint the England boss with a fine performance and a goal for the “Three Lions” in an easy 4-0 win.

England now travel to Kiev’s Olympic Stadium where they will face a much tougher team in the 28th ranked Ukraine where they will be without striker Danny Welbeck who picked up a booking after being flagged for being offside, and playing on after the referee’s whistle.

Which must have along with all Hodgeson’s other woes have the England manager thinking: “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all.”

One thing is for sure though and that is that Ricky Lambert will be relishing his time in the spotlight looking to score the winning goal that will almost certainly guarantee England a place in next summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

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