Rickie Lambert desperate to nail down England spot

Rickie Lambert is keen to nail down his place in Roy Hodgson's twenty-three man World Cup squad, after admitting that he is taking nothing for granted.

As England prepare to face Denmark, there are numerous players in the thirty man party looking to send a message to manager Roy Hodgson.

One such player is Rickie Lambert.

He was finally rewarded for his emphatic contribution to Southampton's rise from League One obscurity to Premier League stardom last August, when he was called up to face Scotland at Wembley Stadium.

Lambert scored on his debut with his first touch, immediately capturing the hearts of many of those in attendance.

He followed it up with a goal and two assists for Danny Welbeck in England's 4-0 win against Moldova in September 2013.

His main competitor for a spot in the squad, Andy Carroll, has found himself sidelined for much of the season through suspension and injury, but Lambert admits he can take nothing for granted as the season nears its conclusion.

Carroll returned in West Ham's defeat at Everton, having served a three-match suspension. It now appears that Lambert and Carroll may face a 10-game battle to fight it out for a place on the plane to Rio this summer.

Lambert currently has the upper hand, with Carroll absent from Hodgson's squad yet again, but he is refusing to rest on his laurels.

"Obviously, I still understand it's nowhere near secured," the front-man said.

"I've got two months to try and prove my place. It's as simple as that."

Involvement against Denmark would see Lambert clock up his 5th England cap, something inconceivable to a man once a midfielder in League Two.

Lambert impressed in displays against Scotland and Moldova, before leading the line in England's crucial 0-0 draw with Ukraine in Kiev during qualifying. A late substitute appearance against Germany added cap number four.

Lambert, now 32, concedes that he is desperate to make the cut, and will do everything within his power to make his dream happen.

"I'm obviously desperate to go and now I've got two months to prove that I'm good enough to go, so that's all I'm trying to focus on now."

"I understand that I've got to do well. I've got to do well in every training session, any minutes I get. I understand that, it's fine."

With Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge looking nailed-on certainties for Hodgson's squad, barring injury, there are still places up for grabs for the likes of Lambert, as well as Jermain Defoe, Danny Welbeck and Andy Carroll.

It remains to be seen if Lambert can lay further claim to one of those spots against Denmark this Wednesday, in England's final fixture before Roy Hodgson names his preliminary World Cup squad.

image: © dom fellowes

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