Dream goal secondary in Lambert’s glory bid

Rickie Lambert was back at Southampton yesterday with a life-long dream fulfilled and a determination to savour scoring a winning goal for England again.

England's Rickie Lambert celebrating scoring his teams third goal of the game.
England's Rickie Lambert celebrating scoring his teams third goal of the game.

The 31-year-old former Blackpool, Macclesfield, Stockport, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers striker made his debut in the 67th minute against Scotland at Wembley, replacing Wayne Rooney, and netted the decisive strike in the 3-2 win three minutes later with his first touch.

“If that’s the only moment I’m going to have in an England shirt – hopefully not – I couldn’t have wished for it to have been any better,” said Lambert.

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“That’s my first one. I’m going to try to make it more in the future. Definitely.”

It was Roy of the Rovers stuff from the Saints striker as he converted Leighton Baines’s corner.

He added: “It was my first touch. It’s probably the best header I’ve headed in my life.

“I saved it for the right time. It was a terrific ball by Bainesey, I managed to lose my marker and he put it exactly where I wanted it. I’ve dreamt for it to go like that for a long time and for it to have gone like that was a dream come true.

“I’ve tried to enjoy it, but my focus was to try and do well. I’m thankful for it to have gone like that.”

Scoring the winner in the first England-Scotland fixture for 14 years capped a stellar rise for Lambert and gave him double cause for celebration after the recent birth of a baby daughter.

He said: “The atmosphere was superb. For that to be my first (England game) is unbelievable.”

Roy Hodgson revealed Wayne Rooney looked so good during the first half it persuaded him to give the Manchester United man an extended run-out. After missing United’s entire pre-season programme, Rooney started Wednesday’s match with David Moyes’s blessing.

Although there were obvious signs of rustiness, Rooney sparkled at times and would have had a goal were it not for an incorrect offside decision against him.

Hodgson was so impressed he kept Rooney on for a large part of the second period too.

“Our first thought was not to risk him for those additional minutes but he was looking so fit, chasing hard and working hard,” said Hodgson.

“But it went well because he’s fit and raring to go.

“Under normal circumstances, you wouldn’t be expecting a player to be making his first appearance in mid-August against Scotland.

“But David Moyes and the 
people at United have been fantastic.

“They’ve almost welcomed the fact he wanted to play and I wanted to play him and he got 67 very valuable minutes.”