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I Won’t Let England Down In Ukraine, Says Striker Rickie Lambert

Saints forward is set to lead the line in Ukrainian capital this week. 

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England front man Rickie Lambert has told head coach Roy Hodgson that he can rely on him in Tuesday night’s crucial World Cup Group H qualifying tie against Ukraine in Kiev, according to reports in the Sunday Mirror.

The Southampton striker was chosen to make his first-ever start for the Three Lions in Friday evening’s qualifier against minnows Moldova at Wembley Stadium, and the 31-year-old did not let his manager down either by netting the home team’s second goal just before half-time in what was a comfortable 4-0 win for England.

And that close-range strike made it two goals in his first two internationals for Lambert, after the Saints forward had come off the bench to head home the winner with his very first touch in England’s 3-2 friendly win over arch-rivals Scotland last month.

Lambert now looks certain to start in the Ukrainian capital on Tuesday following injuries to first-choice attackers Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Andy Carroll in recent weeks, with Tottenham Hotspur front man Jermain Defoe likely to be on the substitutes’ bench in Kiev.

But with Manchester United forward Danny Welbeck having also been ruled out of the trip to Ukraine after picking up a harsh second yellow card of the qualifying campaign against Moldova, the pressure really is all on Lambert now to fire his country to next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil.

And Lambert says that he ready for the challenge: “Whatever the gaffer’s plans for me on ­Tuesday, I’m confident.

“Whether that’s starting or off the bench, I’m confident when I get a chance, I’ll put it away.

“It’s been a surreal few weeks. To score on my debut and again on Friday night, it’s a dream and I’m hoping there’s more to come.

“The game on Tuesday night is another chance to impress. Getting moments like Friday night, I want more now, I want more.

“We understand it will be completely ­different in Ukraine, but we’re in a good place at the minute and the boys are really confident, and there is a feel-good factor around. We’re ­looking forward to it.”

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