Rickie Lambert reflects on his rise with England ahead of the World Cup, and expresses his disappointment at Jason Dodd and Paul Williams sackings

Daily Echo: Rickie Lambert Rickie Lambert

Rickie Lambert is living in a dream world right now, having completed the journey from the scrapheap to secure a place in England's World Cup squad.

The story of how the striker spent time working in a beetroot factory has almost become cliched but encapsulates his Roy of the Rovers rise.

Lambert worked there after being released by Blackpool in 2000, before going on to spend time at Macclesfield, Stockport, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers before making a £1million move to Saints five years ago.

At that point the striker's ''whole lifestyle changed'' as he began the transformation from lower-league marksman to one of the most consistent goalscorers in the Premier League.

Despite that, Lambert only gave himself a 50-50 chance of going to Brazil ahead of Andy Carroll, so when the call came from Roy Hodgson the 32-year-old was understandably emotional.

''I have been here for a few days and it is a dream come true, it is as simple as that,'' he said at England's training base in Portugal. ''I know I have said that before but it is.

''It means everything to me and it is the best moment of my career and I am enjoying every minute.

''I am going to enjoy every minute of it, especially the games. The first game against Italy, the atmosphere - that is what I have dreamt of all my life and now I am going to be there.

''They are the moments that will live with me for the rest of my life.''

Just four years ago Lambert was like the rest of the general public, watching the action in South Africa unfold on television.

That was the summer after his £1million move from Bristol Rovers, with his first season seeing Saints just fall short of the League One play-offs due to a 10-point deduction but win the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

''My career was just starting to pick up four years ago,'' Lambert said. ''I was in League One and had just joined Southampton.

''We just missed out on getting in the play-offs but we won the Johnstone's Paint Trophy so it was a good season. Obviously, it was a million miles away from where I am now.

''It is brilliant. To come from League One, not me personally but the club, four years later to have three in the England team is unbelievable and it is a credit to everyone involved.''

Lambert has flourished under the management of Alan Pardew, Nigel Adkins and Mauricio Pochettino, scoring more than 100 goals for Southampton in the process.

The frontman has shone despite continually being written off, although it had looked even a year ago as if an international call-up would be beyond him.

Having been overlooked despite a fine debut Premier League season, Lambert poked fun at his situation by making out he was committing his future to the New Zealand national team.

That, though, was an April Fool's joke and one which Roy Hodgson may well have taken note of, handing him his first England cap four-and-a-half months later.

Lambert netted in a dream debut against Scotland and the call-up led to a number of Southampton team-mates joining him in the senior set-up.

There are now three Saints players in the 23-man England squad, with team-mates Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw living together at the club's Vale do Lobo training camp.

As the youngest, 18-year-old Shaw got the smallest bed of the trio but has earned Lambert's unwavering respect.

''It is frightening what he has done in a year,'' he said of the left-back. ''When he first joined the first team he took it so well and his progression has been frightening.

''It is full credit to him. His attitude is spot on and I know for a fact that he's going to keep that attitude.

''He is not going to get carried away because he knows what is important in life, really.''

Shaw is a graduate of Southampton's much-vaunted production line - one which has been altered this week by the sacking of Under-18s manager Jason Dodd and assistant Paul Williams.

The 18-year-old has been angered by the former Saints defenders' exit, as has Lambert.

''A lot of it (the club's academy success) has got to do with Jason Dodd and Willo as well,'' he said.

''It was a disappointment to hear the news that they've been sacked. It is a bit of shock, really.''

Comments (11)

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2:23pm Fri 23 May 14

saintbobby says...

Rickie , you must know the fans support you 100% and we are all looking forward to your first appearance in Brazil. If any one in football today has earned the right to don an England Jersey in the World Cup - it is YOU.

As I remember you scored twice for Rovers against us in a Cup game. The best 2 goals against us ever as that performance brought you to St. Mary's.

You are a true Saint and one of our legends. Thank you for your goals and your team spirit. You are amongst a lot of admiring fans which has been earned by your dedication to your colleagues and of course all these goals you have scored. A lot on here call you Sir Rickie and you will know why!

Rickie, the very, very best of luck over the next few weeks. You and, we hope, Adam and Luke will get a tremendous welcome back in August
Rickie , you must know the fans support you 100% and we are all looking forward to your first appearance in Brazil. If any one in football today has earned the right to don an England Jersey in the World Cup - it is YOU. As I remember you scored twice for Rovers against us in a Cup game. The best 2 goals against us ever as that performance brought you to St. Mary's. You are a true Saint and one of our legends. Thank you for your goals and your team spirit. You are amongst a lot of admiring fans which has been earned by your dedication to your colleagues and of course all these goals you have scored. A lot on here call you Sir Rickie and you will know why! Rickie, the very, very best of luck over the next few weeks. You and, we hope, Adam and Luke will get a tremendous welcome back in August saintbobby
  • Score: 22

2:54pm Fri 23 May 14

Tye-Dye pt2 says...

SRL is without doubt up there with the likes of Channon, Paine, Davies, Le God etc as one of our legendary strikers, yet still to this day is one of the most humble and decent blokes you could wish to meet.

Just after SRL had been picked for the WC the Mail put an article up about him and his long journey, this post was put up in the comments section and received over 3000 green arrows...

" I am not a Saints supporter but Lambert getting picked has truly made my day, a real life Roy of the Rovers journeyman who has ultimately achieved the highest accolade a football player can achieve, and its thoroughly deserved."

Sums everything up perfectly. Legend!
SRL is without doubt up there with the likes of Channon, Paine, Davies, Le God etc as one of our legendary strikers, yet still to this day is one of the most humble and decent blokes you could wish to meet. Just after SRL had been picked for the WC the Mail put an article up about him and his long journey, this post was put up in the comments section and received over 3000 green arrows... " I am not a Saints supporter but Lambert getting picked has truly made my day, a real life Roy of the Rovers journeyman who has ultimately achieved the highest accolade a football player can achieve, and its thoroughly deserved." Sums everything up perfectly. Legend! Tye-Dye pt2
  • Score: 24

5:24pm Fri 23 May 14

St.Ray says...

Advice to DE reporter on this article; It should be CLICHEED!!!! as in CLICHAYED not CLICHED
Advice to DE reporter on this article; It should be CLICHEED!!!! as in CLICHAYED not CLICHED St.Ray
  • Score: -1

5:25pm Fri 23 May 14

DisplacedFan says...

Can't wait to see our playrs in the World Cup. Rickie, not enough good things can happen to you in Brazil.
Can't wait to see our playrs in the World Cup. Rickie, not enough good things can happen to you in Brazil. DisplacedFan
  • Score: 5

5:28pm Fri 23 May 14

St.Ray says...

St.Ray wrote:
Advice to DE reporter on this article; It should be CLICHEED!!!! as in CLICHAYED not CLICHED
Not too sure that is correct, it should probably be;
"A CLICHE" with an acute accent over the e
[quote][p][bold]St.Ray[/bold] wrote: Advice to DE reporter on this article; It should be CLICHEED!!!! as in CLICHAYED not CLICHED[/p][/quote]Not too sure that is correct, it should probably be; "A CLICHE" with an acute accent over the e St.Ray
  • Score: 1

5:31pm Fri 23 May 14

NC Fan4Life says...

Model professional is Rick, in all aspects which is why Woy selected him.
He is an inspiration to all players down through the leagues.
Good Luck Rick hope you score to complete the fairy tale.
Model professional is Rick, in all aspects which is why Woy selected him. He is an inspiration to all players down through the leagues. Good Luck Rick hope you score to complete the fairy tale. NC Fan4Life
  • Score: 5

10:43pm Fri 23 May 14

el caballo santos101 says...

SRL you are living the dream for every sunday morning footballer in the country. have a great world cup and score a goal or 2 and he next thing you will have to worry about is who pays you in your life story, gerard butler would be a good choice!
SRL you are living the dream for every sunday morning footballer in the country. have a great world cup and score a goal or 2 and he next thing you will have to worry about is who pays you in your life story, gerard butler would be a good choice! el caballo santos101
  • Score: 4

12:11am Sat 24 May 14

Jan28th1984 says...

Go get em Rickie, I get the feeling your star has not yet reached its peak.

PS: the correct spelling is "clichéd."
Go get em Rickie, I get the feeling your star has not yet reached its peak. PS: the correct spelling is "clichéd." Jan28th1984
  • Score: 3

8:43am Sat 24 May 14

Costa Baz says...

I thought Luke tweeted that he was "gutted" by the sackings of Dodd and Williams?
A different emotion to the "angered" being used in this piece, where it isn't relevant.
I thought Luke tweeted that he was "gutted" by the sackings of Dodd and Williams? A different emotion to the "angered" being used in this piece, where it isn't relevant. Costa Baz
  • Score: 0

10:35am Sat 24 May 14

Positively4thStreet says...

Jan28th1984 wrote:
Go get em Rickie, I get the feeling your star has not yet reached its peak.

PS: the correct spelling is "clichéd."
Doesn't he play for Man City?
[quote][p][bold]Jan28th1984[/bold] wrote: Go get em Rickie, I get the feeling your star has not yet reached its peak. PS: the correct spelling is "clichéd."[/p][/quote]Doesn't he play for Man City? Positively4thStreet
  • Score: 1

11:53am Sun 25 May 14

lowe esteem says...

el caballo santos101 wrote:
SRL you are living the dream for every sunday morning footballer in the country. have a great world cup and score a goal or 2 and he next thing you will have to worry about is who pays you in your life story, gerard butler would be a good choice!
Your submission contains a lot of inaccuracies, which I can't find myself agreeing with -see the previous contribution from NC for a more accurate assessment that reflects consensus -we love what you're doing Rickie, and the way you've gone about it.
This is perhaps not the platform however, to share your feelings of 'man-love' for other men outside the sphere of football i.e. Nicola Cortese or Gerard Butler.
[quote][p][bold]el caballo santos101[/bold] wrote: SRL you are living the dream for every sunday morning footballer in the country. have a great world cup and score a goal or 2 and he next thing you will have to worry about is who pays you in your life story, gerard butler would be a good choice![/p][/quote]Your submission contains a lot of inaccuracies, which I can't find myself agreeing with -see the previous contribution from NC for a more accurate assessment that reflects consensus -we love what you're doing Rickie, and the way you've gone about it. This is perhaps not the platform however, to share your feelings of 'man-love' for other men outside the sphere of football i.e. Nicola Cortese or Gerard Butler. lowe esteem
  • Score: 0

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