ABOUT TIME TOO..
There is much dancing in the streets of Southampton today with the news that Rickie Lambert, Southampton`s Goal Machine, (RLSGM) has finally been selected for the England squad to play Scotland at Wembley Stadium next Tuesday. About time too.
RLSGM has done it the hard way, spending his journeyman years in the lower divisions of the Football League and joining the Saints four years ago in a £1million swoop from Bristol Rovers. Since then he has been the club`s leading scorer each season and a talisman figure as the club has risen from the obscurity of the bottom of League One, through the Championship and in to the Premier League last season, when he became the joint leading English scorer with 15 goals.
So, many congratulations, Rickie and I hope next Tuesday provides you with a more satisfying experience than that which befell James Beattie, the last Saints striker to be called into the England squad. Like Rickie, James was the leading English scorer in the Premier League 10 years ago, which earned him a call up for the England team. Problem was that the `established` England players at the time simply refused to pass the ball to James and you can`t score goals if you don`t have the ball.
I`m not altogether convinced that the current bunch of `established` internationals - mainly from the damned United, Chelsea and Arsenal - will be any more inclined to accommodate one who they might see as an upstart from a `small town provincial club` although the England team will also include the likes of Alex Oxtail-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott, former graduates of the Saints academy, so there might be some hope for Rickie getting a fairer crack of the whip than did James all those years ago.
And Wayne Rooney, for one, most certainly won`t dare mess with him, as he has already been intimidated by Rickie`s presence and his assertive propensity for planting the ball beyond the reaches of opposing custodians, as defensive walls shrink from his power and accuracy. Here`s a good example:-
Whatever happens, Rickie, the reward is richly deserved and we in our `small town provincial club` could not be more happy for you.