Rickie Lambert concedes he faces battle to retain England place despite fine start to international career

Despite fine start to international career, returning strikers will make keeping place difficult

Striker Rickie Lambert knows he has a fight on his hands to keep his place in the England squad.

Lambert had enjoyed a fairytale start to his international career, scoring in his opening two games against Scotland and Moldova, but he drew a blank on Tuesday night as England laboured to a 0-0 draw in Ukraine.

Manager Roy Hodgson says Lambert is a serious contender for his World Cup squad - providing England qualify - but the 31-year-old will face increasing competition for a place in Hodgson's party for the upcoming fixtures against Montenegro and Poland.

Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge are expected to return from their respective injuries while Danny Welbeck will also be back in contention for the double-header following his one-match suspension.

Lambert therefore hopes to maintain his good club form so he is in contention for the crunch game against Montenegro on October 11 and the Poland game four days later.

"I understand that there will be more competition," Lambert said.

"Obviously I understood that the chances of me playing in Ukraine if everyone was available were very slim anyway.

"But we want Wayne, Daniel and Andy Carroll in here as well.

"They are great players. All I can try to do is give them another option, trying to impress and hopefully I can do that.

"It has been an exciting few weeks for me and I hope it is going to continue."

Lambert had enjoyed a lot of freedom in his first two internationals, but on Tuesday was well shackled by the Ukraine defence.

A lack of creativity and fluent passing did not help the 31-year-old either.

Many people were underwhelmed with the performance in the former Soviet republic, but with England now one point clear at the top of Group H with two matches left, there were no complaints from Lambert.

"It was a very good away performance in a very hostile atmosphere against a good team so we are happy with a point," the former Bristol Rovers striker said.

"We limited them to one shot so that's credit to the boys.

"We defended superbly. We didn't want to concede and it worked perfectly so we are really happy."

England need victories against Montenegro and Poland to guarantee their passage to Brazil 2014.

Hodgson has only managed to register wins over Moldova and San Marino in this qualifying campaign, but Lambert is confident that the Three Lions will still be top of Group H come the end of October.

"It is in our own hands now," he said. "We have two home games now which we fancy ourselves to win both and that is what we will be trying to do."

As a former Football League journeyman, Lambert is used to unforgiving arenas, but the experience of playing in front of 70,000 hostile fans was new to him.

"I have played in the Premier League, but I have never witnessed anything like that," the Kirkby-born striker said.

"The atmosphere was very intense. I really, really enjoyed it."

PA

News
peopleJonathan Ross has got a left-field suggestion to replace Clarkson
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Pandas may be more sociable than previously thought
news
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
Arts and Entertainment
Written protest: Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo, has sent an open letter to the Culture Secretary
books
Sport
footballDoes Hodgson's England team have an identity yet?
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss