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Lambert can help seal England's World Cup fate
The Saints striker is again in the national team squad, and is expected to be among the substitutes for this evening’s important qualifier.
A win could push England to within touching distance of a place at next summer’s tournament, in Brazil, and Lambert will be desperate to impress, as he looks to reinforce his status as a regular fixture in Roy Hodgson’s set-up.
The 31-year-old has started the last two qualifiers, at home to Moldova and away to Ukraine, but is likely to begin tonight’s match on the bench, with Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge both fit.
Hodgson is delighted with the options at his disposal in attack, which also include Danny Welbeck and Jermain Defoe.
“It’s been a very good week’s training,” said the England boss. “We’ve got a fully fit squad of players.
“It’s not only the strikers I’ve been impressed by. The whole squad has had a very good week’s training. I’m just happy the game will come along. We feel ready for it.
“I haven’t named the team yet, so I can’t make any comments before the start of the game (on individuals), but it’s nice to see a player like Daniel Sturridge come into the squad and be so comfortable at an early stage and to strike up a good relationship with the more senior players he’s been partnering this week.
“It’s also nice that so many strikers come into this game having had good games with their clubs and having scored goals for their clubs.”
Lambert could prove a useful option for Hodgson tonight, having scored in his first two appearances at Wembley for England.
The Saints forward netted the winner in August’s friendly with Scotland, scoring with the first touch of his debut, before netting one and setting up two in last month’s 4-0 win against Moldova.
After tonight’s match, England will conclude their qualifying campaign at home to Poland – who will have Saints keeper Artur Boruc in goal – next Tuesday night.
Hodgson’s men currently top the Group H standings, one point ahead of both Ukraine and Montenegro, while Poland are three points behind them.
It promises to be an intriguing finish, with Ukraine hosting Poland tonight.
A win for England this evening cannot officially ensure qualification, but if it was coupled with anything less than a victory for Ukraine then they would be in an almost unassailable position.
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