There is always a first time for everything as the saying goes and this was certainly the case for Rickie Lambert. The Southampton striker came off the bench to score the winner with his first touch in international football to give England a narrow victory over Scotland at Wembley.
|DREAM DEBUT: Rickie Lambert celebrates his winning goal|
It has been an unforgettable week for the Liverpudlian as he celebrated the arrival of his daughter, Bella Rose and receiving his first England call-up last Thursday before his dream debut last night. Lambert's goal has now caused a dilemma for England boss Roy Hodgson for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers in September and October respectively.
Despite the fact that Andy Carroll or Daniel Sturridge may have got the call ahead of Lambert, last night's performance will not be taken away from the boyhood Liverpool fan. He has the same attributes as Carroll albeit not as quick as the West Ham forward. It was a long-awaited call-up for Lambert as he enjoyed a successful debut season in the Premier League last season with Southampton as he became the joint top English goalscorer in the division along with Frank Lampard.
After the game, Lambert couldn´t hide his delight saying that it was a "dream come true." "It was amazing", said an excited Lambert. "I couldn´t have dreamt for it to have gone any better. I'm over the moon."
"It's [the goal] probably the best header I've headed in my life. I saved it for the right time. It was a terrific ball by Leighton Baines, I managed to lose my marker and he put it exactly where I wanted it."
Released from Liverpool and Blackpool as a teenager, the 31-year-old was awarded a contract with Macclesfield after briefly working in a beetroot factory. Spells at Stockport, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers followed until Southampton came calling for his services in 2009 for £1 million when Alan Pardew was in charge. In his four years at St. Mary´s, Lambert has helped the Saints win the Johnstone´s Paint Trophy in 2010 and win back-to-back promotions from League One to the Premier League, scoring 103 goals in 193 appearances.
Lambert was thankful to Roy Hodgson for giving him the opportunity and is now focusing on the start of the new season where Southampton travel to West Brom. "I'm looking forward to it. It´s a hard game, but I'm looking forward to meeting up with the boys and get ready for the next game."
It has been a week to remember for Rickie Lambert. For a player whose career looked very limited to begin with, to come back with the mentality that you need as a footballer or any other athlete is the sign of a man who will always give 100% in every single game. This will not be the last time England fans will see Rickie Lambert in an England shirt.