SAINTS legend Matt Le Tissier is “amazed” that current talisman Rickie Lambert has been overlooked by England.
Despite netting 11 times in the Premier League so far this season, a tally that makes him the joint top English scorer in the division, Lambert was not picked for tonight’s friendly against Brazil, at Wembley.
Even the withdrawal of injured duo Jermain Defoe and Daniel Sturridge – two of the five forwards included by manager Roy Hodgson – did not result in a late call-up for the Saints front man, or anyone else.
Lambert admitted after Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Wigan that he was disappointed to have been overlooked.
Le Tissier is a man who well knows that form alone does not always equate to a place in the England set-up and he believes the club’s current number seven has every right to feel aggrieved.
“Two of the strikers have pulled out injured since the squad’s been announced,” he said. “If he wasn’t in the first five, it amazes me that he’s not the next one down the pecking order.
“You tell me another English centre forward who’s been more effective than Rickie Lambert this season.”
With Lambert turning 31 later this month, it has been suggested that his age could have counted against him.
But Le Tissier insists that should have no bearing, and neither should the fact this is his first season in the top flight.
“I never understand, and this may be one of the reasons why we never get very close to winning a major tournament, why are we always planning for the future and not thinking about the present?” he said.
“If you spend all your time thinking about the future, you will never win anything in the present.
“It’s a poor excuse, to be honest with you.
“Because of the way he’s come up, he’s looked down upon by people in higher positions – because of the route that he’s taken to get to the top, because of how long it’s taken him to get to the top.
“But, at the end of the day, you should pick an England squad primarily on current form, and I don’t think it happens.”
Only Robin van Persie (18), Luis Suarez (17), Demba Ba (14) and Michu (13) can boast more Premier League goals than Lambert this term.
Le Tissier has been thrilled at how the striker has performed in his first season in the top flight.
“He’s got 11 goals in the Premier League in 25 games and that by anyone’s standards is a good return,” said Le Tissier.
“You look at what Van Persie does and it’s phenomenal.
“Because of what he’s done, it almost belittles other people’s achievement of scoring a goal nearly every other game.
“If you can play in the Premier League and score a goal nearly every other game you are a good footballer.
“There’s no two ways about that.
“Rickie is a very, very good footballer.”