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Saints legend Paine: Lambert is no one-cap wonder
The club’s honorary president is adamant that the striker must be included in future squads after his fairytale debut at Wembley.
Lambert netted the winner in Wednesday’s dramatic 3-2 victory over Scotland, heading home from a corner with his first touch.
Saints players haven’t always had the recognition at international level that they have felt they deserved, with Matt Le Tissier the most notable example.
Paine hopes a similar fate won’t befall Lambert, and he added his belief that the forward is more suited to leading the England line than many of his contemporaries are.
“It was an absolute travesty that Matt Le Tissier didn’t play more internationals, and I think it would be an absolute disgrace if Rickie wasn’t picked again,” he said.
“You would be absolutely crazy not to bring him into the squad again now, regardless of whoever is available. He has shown more than enough.
“It was a tremendous introduction to international football for him. The celebrations really just told you what it meant to him.
“I’m not saying he’s going to start every game, but he has to be in the squad.
“I don’t see anybody better than him in that particular role.
“It’s only a matter of opinion, but I don’t think Andy Carroll has got enough on the floor or leads the line well enough. But Rickie does, and that’s really important at international level.”
Paine added that he was thrilled with Lambert’s all-round performance on Wednesday.
“I really thought he had the look of someone who had been a part of the squad for a year or more,” he said.
“I was so impressed by him – his first touch, his movement, the way he led the line.”
Like many Saints fans no doubt, Paine could not contain his excitement when Lambert scored.
“I’m 74 years of age now, and I don’t jump out of the chair like I used to, but certainly that had me jumping out of it,” he said.
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