Martin Lipton says Southampton's Rickie Lambert deserves England place

Last Updated: 12/09/13 4:20pm

A breath of fresh air

Rickie Lambert has the skills to deal with international football.

That was the view of Daily Mirror writer Martin Lipton after the Southampton striker scored against Moldova in England's World Cup qualifier on Friday night, just weeks after he netted a headed winner in a friendly against Scotland.

"Labert has the vision to make up for the fact he does not have blinding pace."

Martin Lipton

Lambert has plied most of his career in the lower leagues, turning out for Macclesfield, Stockport, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers, but flourished in the Premier League last term, notching 15 top-flight goals to help the Saints finish in 14th spot.

And Lipton says that the Merseyside-born frontman's passion at pulling on an England strip, coupled with his guile, means he deserves his place in Roy Hodgson's Three Lions set-up.

"Lambert's enthusiasm and zest at playing for England and his acceptance of the criticism that has come his way about whether he should be in the squad at the age of 31 has been fantastic," Lipton told the Sunday Supplement.

"He has taken his opportunity really well as not only did he score in the [4-0] win over Moldova he put in two terrific passes for Danny Welbeck.

"He showed he has the vision and intelligence to make up for the fact he does not have blinding pace."

Crucial

Daily Mail reporter Rob Draper, however, does not think Lambert will necessarily travel with England to the 2014 World Cup should Hodgson's squad secure a berth in next summer's finals in Brazil.

Lambert is battling with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge, Andy Carroll and Jermain Defoe for a place amongst England's striking roster, while winger Theo Walcott is also capable of playing as a central frontman.

And Draper is unsure that the Southampton charge - who rifled home a penalty on the opening day of the 2013/14 Premier League campaign to earn his side a win over West Brom - will be able to overcome that competition and earn a lengthy stint as an international player.

"If Rooney was fit, Lambert wouldn't have played and there are question marks over whether he can play for England in a crucial match," said Draper, who joined Lipton, Neil Ashton and The Sunday Times' Jonathan Northcroft around the Supplement table.

"He has cleared every hurdle so far but I don't think he has a long-term future for England and don't see him getting more than around 10 caps."

To listen to more of the boys' debate, download the Supplement podcast by hitting this link.