Saints attacker has been handed his first-ever start for his country in a must-win game.
England head coach Roy Hodgson says that he has the utmost confidence in Southampton front man Rickie Lambert, who will lead the line against Moldova in the Three Lions’ Fifa World Cup qualifier at Wembley Stadium on Friday night, reports the Daily Mail.
The 31-year-old has been handed his first-ever start for England in what is an absolutely crucial fixture on the road to next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil following injuries to first-choice forwards Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sti
Hodgson’s side currently trail surprise Group H leaders Montenegro by just two points going into the clash with Moldova, who themselves sit second bottom of the standings, although England have played a game less than the pace-setters.
Either way, though, the veteran manager knows that nothing less than the three points will suffice against the East Europeans in the capital, which is why he has shown enormous faith by giving the in-form Saints striker his full England debut.
Lambert has featured for the Three Lions before of course, coming on as a late substitute in England’s most recent fixture, a friendly international against arch-rivals Scotland at Wembley last month, to head home the winning goal with his first touch in a 3-2 victory for the home side.
And his manager has absolutely no concerns about Lambert’s abilities in front of goal, saying: “I am more than happy to have a player of his calibre to start this game. I am sure we will have enough firepower for the next two games.
“Rickie has shown that he has Premier League qualities. His attitude was right, he scored a good goal against Scotland and the players accepted him as a guy with bona fide qualities to play for England. It’s not always easy to come in and make an impact, but he did.
“The loss of Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge is a major blow. It was a straight choice in the end between Jermain Defoe and Lambert, but Defoe has a slight injury and isn’t playing for Spurs. Lambert has turned up fully fit and he starts.”