Rickie Lambert and the 5 Most Underrated Premier League Strikers

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2013

Rickie Lambert and the 5 Most Underrated Premier League Strikers

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    The summer transfer window sees plenty of high-priced strikers head to the Premier League, serving as a reminder that some of the top flight's attacking talent is underrated by the majority.

    Rickie Lambert is the King of the Premier League's underrated population. He knows exactly how it feels to be overlooked and has worked hard to ensure English fans know all about his talents. Which other strikers are judged in the same way?

    Without further adieu, here's five effective forwards who suffer the same fate, starting with Big Rickie himself.

Rickie Lambert, Southampton

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    Rickie Lambert is not a glamorous forward.

    He is the type of player who prioritises hard work, determination and dedication before brushing his hair. The 31-year-old has only played one full Premier League season, but after netting 15 goals in the 2012-13 top flight, his stock rose enough to see him included in the recent England squad for the friendly match against Scotland.

    Lambert's fairytale continued to proceed.

    Coming off the bench as a late substitute, the powerful forward brilliantly headed the winner in a match that would go on to finish 3-2. He scored with his first touch, playing out the real-life dreams of many across the country.

    In his next match, he smashed home a last-minute penalty to grab three points for Mauricio Pochettino's Southampton in the 1-0 away win against West Brom. His start to the season couldn't be any better.

    The forward from Kirkby highlights the drive and belief it takes to succeed at the top. Although he isn't blessed with frightening pace or unbelievable skill, this is an individual who has honed his tools into a physical, precise and deadly combination.

Danny Welbeck, Manchester United

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    Danny Welbeck's lack of goalscoring prowess continues to haunt the Manchester United striker. He netted just one goal last season, but he has already doubled his total after scoring twice in the 4-1 opening day win against Swansea.

    Welbeck runs with the balance of Bambi, but his ceaseless energy and willingness to sprint across the pitch should be applauded. He will stick in a foot, retrieve possession with a neat interception and generally support his teammates anywhere on the pitch.

    The 22-year-old's physicality continues to mature. He looks comfortable behind Robin van Persie and is better suited to acting between the midfield and forward lines, rather than leading the attack.

    Welbeck needs to be constantly active during games in order to reach his top level, but still has room to improve on his distribution and ability to finish the ball. The England forward is beginning an important season for David Moyes' men, that's for sure.

Olivier Giroud, Arsenal

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    Olivier Giroud endures a large amount of negative press for not being Robin van Persie, let's be honest.

    Since arriving from Montpellier, the French forward has done enough to endear himself to some parts of the Emirates faithful. He scored 11 goals in his debut Premier League season and netted during Arsenal's 2013-14 opening day defeat to Aston Villa.

    Even with his silly hair, the 26-year-old gives his all for the Gunners. He often looks to receive possession, lay the ball off and spread it wide before sprinting into the middle. Giroud's main downfall is his ability to waste decent chances and his lack of concentration when Arsene Wenger's men need a lift.

    With Karim Benzema now linked with a move to the Emitates, as reported by David Ornstein of BBC Sport, is Giroud set to receive less playing time across the coming year?

Shane Long, West Bromwich Albion

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    It's easy to forget Shane Long when Romelu Lukaku is smashing in the goals and Peter Odemwingie goes walkabout at West Brom.

    The Irish striker has been at the Hawthorns since 2011 and continues to frequent the first-team lineup with smart displays. He possesses decent speed, an excellent first touch and close control that often draws the opposition into making fouls.

    Long is certainly the type of player who needs significant time on the pitch to make an impression. For someone who flaunts such natural quality, he needs to score more goals. Even so, even at the age of 26, he remains largely underrated by onlookers.

    Steve Clarke must find Long a centre-forward partner to amplify his potential. The former Reading man can be unplayable on his day and needs someone to form a long-term partnership with.

Victor Anichebe, Everton

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    Similar to Lambert, Victor Anichebe is the type of forward who is likely to eat his plate rather use a knife and fork.

    The Everton powerhouse has shown his quality over the past season, largely thanks to Nikica Jelavic's inability to net for the Toffees. Afforded a chance in the first-team under David Moyes, Anichebe operates in the role of "Absolute Behemoth" on the edge of the opposition's area.

    At 25-years-old, it's difficult to suggest he will ever be a prolific goalscorer. The Nigerian continues to improve and is the type of player many fans love to support due to his never-say-die attitude. He will tackle, hassle and leave the field knowing he has committed everything to the cause.

    Which Premier League strikers do you think are underrated? Let me know in the comments section and be sure to chat with me on Twitter: