6:00am Saturday 14th September 2013
By Adam Leitch
Mauricio Pochettino insists Rickie Lambert is well aware he cannot rest on his laurels despite his star showings for England.
Lambert scored twice in his first two games for his country and also started in the goalless draw against Ukraine.
With other strikers expected to be available by the time England are in action again next month, Pochettino says Lambert needs to continue to perform for his club to keep his international career going.
“He’s doing very well. He’s very motivated ahead of this game on Sunday,” said Pochettino.
“He knows his good performances for Southampton have taken him to the English national side and he’s very much aware he needs to carry on maintaining those performances to get into the English national side “There is good competition with Welbeck and Rooney and he’s very aware of that threat so he needs to maintain that positive run to keeping getting in the national side.”
While many lauded Lambert’s performance on a tough night in Kiev, a few dissenters were critical of his performance.
Pochettino though was quick to stand up for his man.
“It’s true that Moldova is not at the same level as Ukraine and that was a factor. They were different matches,” he said.
“What player played well?
“That’s the thing about these fan’s forums. There will always be a range of opinions in terms of how a player performed.
“A day before the game against Ukraine, Rickie Lambert was a national hero.
“I also saw during the game against Moldova that some TV presenters said Rickie Lambert should be taken off to keep him for the Ukraine game so that shows you.
“You have to take opinions with a grain of salt and listen to your own staff, players and the club and realise football players are human and are going to have good days and not so good days and it’s bound to happen.”
Pochettino also saw Dani Osvaldo go away with Italy for international duty and qualify for the World Cup finals in Brazil next year.
Now he is hoping that the new signing gels with Lambert for what could be a dream pairing.
“Whenever you bring a new player into a squad you always need time for that player to adapt and develop and establish himself within the squad,” added Pochettino.
“Osvaldo needs to adapt to his new teammates and his new teammates need to adapt to him as well.
“It’s clear that Osvaldo and Rickie Lambert are both international players, intelligent players, very good players so they will quickly adapt to each other and gel very quickly but I do think a new player needs time to establish himself within a team.”
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