Rickie Lambert Proves His Worth, Now He Deserves a Shot at the World Cup

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterAugust 14, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 14:  Rickie Lambert of England (C) celebrates with team-mates Gary Cahill of England (L) and Danny Welbeck of England (R) after scoring a goal during the International Friendly match between England and Scotland at Wembley Stadium on August 14, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Rickie Lambert set Wembley Stadium alight when he leaped highest to score England's winner against Scotland on Wednesday night.

With the score deadlocked at 2-2, Roy Hodgson turned to his wildcard—who was called up due to a "dearth in striking options"—to fix the situation, and boy did he make an impact.

Leighton Baines' whipped delivery from the left was the perfect height, and Lambert muscled himself half a yard before thundering a header past the helpless Allan McGregor.

The celebration told the whole story: the entire England team tearing after him, desperate to get their hands on him and congratulate his historic effort.

One minute, one touch, one goal. Hero of the terraces, hero in the dressing room.

But his likable character and playful attitude—he spent most of the prematch conference joking about how he barely got a touch in training—aren't the only things that should persuade Hodgson to keep him in and around the squad.

There's no denying it, Lambert is a Premier League-calibre striker who boasts almost every attribute possible.

He's a complete forward, the type Hodgson so desperately wants, and while not quite as aerially dominant as Andy Carroll, his close control, technique and ability with the ball on the floor is head and shoulders above the competition.

He notched 15 league goals and five assists last season and was named the top English goalscorer in the league. His goals came in every variety, be it headers, free kicks, tap-ins or long-range strikes, and it was becoming increasingly difficult for the England management team to ignore such a prolific presence.

Raw power courses through his muscles, yet a soft touch and immense understanding of how to bring others into the game enables him to escape the sort of "battering ram" tag Carroll attracts.

Lambert can play possession football, protect the ball under pressure, bully defenders or play cute one-twos. His partnership with speedster Jay Rodriguez is the sort many envy, and it's easy to see him building a similar relationship with Theo Walcott.

The former Bristol Rovers man may have been called up in desperation, but in truth the call had long been due. He was given his chance, he took his chance and now he deserves another.

If Lambert isn't in the squad for Moldova there'll be questions asked, and there's absolutely no reason the target man can't force his way onto the plane to Brazil should the team qualify with his help.