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Rickie: I want to be a regular in the England squad
Rickie Lambert wants to write another chapter in his great rags to riches story by earning a place in Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad. Lambert's route to the top of the English game has hardly been a conventional one.
Having been discarded by Liverpool and Blackpool, Lambert had to work in a beetroot factory aged 18 before he started climbing the leagues with Stockport, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers before he joined Saints.
Alan Pardew told Lambert he was too fat to reach the top, but the striker proved his former manager wrong, helping Saints to the Premier League, where he is now regarded as one of the best English marksmen around.
Having scored 15 goals in the division last season, Lambert fully deserves his call-up, even though some believe the player is too suited to physical football to make the step up to the international arena.
But Lambert will do everything he can to prove his doubters wrong, especially with a World Cup in Brazil under a year away.
"Being a regular is my goal," the 31-year-old said. "I am trying to take everything in, but I am trying to impress and hopefully get another chance.
"It is a good time to break in to the squad. Even if I didn't get called up for the Scotland game I would be determined to try to get myself in there before Brazil."
Such was Lambert's enthusiasm about joining up with England that he was the first person to arrive at St George's Park yesterday ahead of the game against Scotland.
The size of the task ahead of him soon became clear though when he took part in training with the rest of the squad.
"After the first five minutes I found out how good the quality was," Lambert said "I didn't get anywhere near the ball and I was blowing a bit. "The standard here is frightening. Everything about it is a step up from what I am used to, and it's something I want to do again."
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