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Rickie Lambert could go to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil says England manager Roy Hodgson
Updated 10:48am Friday 9th August 2013 in Saints News
Lambert had quite a day yesterday.
The 31-year-old became a father for the third time when his wife Amy gave birth to his first daughter Bella Rose and just 10 hours later he was informed that he had been included in the England squad to face Scotland at Wembley next Wednesday.
Just two years ago Lambert was plying his trade in the third tier of English football following spells at Macclesfield, Stockport and Blackpool, where he was released in 2000 having made just three substitute appearances.
But Lambert impressed sufficiently for Saints last term - when he scored 15 times in his maiden Premier League season - to earn his first international call-up.
And even though he is in the latter stages of his career, Hodgson sees no reason why the burly striker could not be part of his World Cup plans if he continues to shine - and if England qualify, of course. "It would be better if he was 24 and not 32, but on the other hand our intention is to do well first on Wednesday and then in these autumn games where we are trying to qualify for Brazil," the England manager said.
"If Rickie Lambert can help us do that and maybe when we get there, do well in the tournament, then I will quite happily turn a blind eye to the fact that he is 32 at that time because it's not age that plays football, it's human beings.
"You get very fit and healthy 33-year-olds and you get 24-year-olds who are not in the best of shape."
With Andy Carroll and Daniel Sturridge absent, Hodgson's attacking options have been reduced for the first friendly against England's 'auld enemy' since 1999.
Those options will be further reduced if Wayne Rooney and Jermain Defoe have to pull out over the weekend as a result of their respective shoulder and hamstring injuries. Although Lambert's inclusion is a good news story, it also highlights the dearth of young English forwards available to Hodgson.
"We can't get away from the paucity of competition at forward level," Hodgson added. "During the last 15 or 16 months we've had injuries which has meant we haven't had an awful lot of choice. "But it would be harsh if you then turn that against Lambert.
"He's a very good technician, good in the air, his understanding of the game is good and he's scored goals.
"It would have been nice if he had come through at 24 maybe people did not take a chance on him because he is not exceptionally fast.
"But what more criteria do you want when you are selecting a forward?"
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