Is Rickie Lambert the saviour of English football or not?

Wembley England

With all the talent on offer in the Premier League, is it right that Rickie Lambert gets the call ahead of his younger counterparts?

They say that's facts don't lie but in the case of Rickie Lambert, you have to ask if those facts really make him an England international.

Is he hard working? Yes

Is he talented? Yes

Does he score goals? Yes

Has he performed for England? Yes

Is he the future of England? No

Now before you read on, I must state that I'm a huge fan of the Southampton striker, his story is one of the best in the Premier League, its the tale of a journeyman pro whose career took him from the Liverpool youth team to Southampton via Blackpool, Macclesfield, Stockport, Rochdale and Bristol (Rovers) and ultimately to an England call up at the age of 31.

His dedication and perseverance with the game he loves are worthy enough of his latest honour but I can't help but feel that England and manager Roy Hodgson are heading further in the wrong direction by picking him.

Over the last 10 years fans of the Three Lions have repeatedly talked of how our best generation of players since the 1966 World Cup team have failed on the international stage, they have talked of the many managers who came, promised so much and ultimately left without achieving.

Match tactics can't be solely to blame because since our last major semi-final, that of Euro 1996 and the agonising defeat on penalties to Germany, England have had nine different tacticians in the top job, yet none have risen to the lofty heights set out by the undoubtable talent of the very similar squads they have picked.

For me what's needed is a gamble, and maybe Lambert is that man, could he be our new Geoff Hurst, a man who wasn't guaranteed to start in a major tournament, yet turned into a winner and with it an England legend?

I hope so because at the moment he's in the squad, has one goal from one appearance and is in the form of his life, but that's also where I worry. He's the now man, not the man of the future and that's what England need.

I'd imagine that if this were a poll to pick your team for next summers World Cup, the teams would almost pick themselves, some will say that Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard can't play together so you'll drop Lampard despite the fact that the stats don't lie and he performs at a higher level and far more frequently for his club than Gerrard.

But Gerrard is the captain, and one of the best of his generation so he's a certainly, that's that then, same old England, we'll have them both, but what about Carrick, Wilshere and Cleverley, all of whom have excelled recently.

It's this mentality that will eventually catch up with us, a good example would be the dominant Australian cricket team of the late 90's early 00's, all at once they lost their core to retirement, for Warne, Langer, Ponting, Gilchrist and McGrath read Terry, Ferdinand, Lampard, Cole and Gerrard, the end is nigh and the future looks worryingly far away.

Not replacing these players or highlighting those that can, may mean that when retirement comes the team will be too inexperienced and miss a major championship, just like 2008, the result? Well then it's a four year wait by which time the next bunch of players could be heading for the exit.

The downfall is coming and it's not because the talent isn't there sit because we are wasting too much time on players in current good form or those without a long future.

Up front many would say that England should be playing Rooney and Sturridge, and their backup should be Danny Welbeck and Fraizer Campbell not sadly, Jermain Defoe or Rickie Lambert, and I agree.

In my view, talented but proven youth should take their chance over equally talented age.

image: © geetarchurchy

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