World Cup 2014: Why could Roy Hodgson start with Rickie Lambert as his leading England striker instead of Daniel Sturridge or Wayne Rooney?

Lambert's record since making his England debut last year has been impressive enough to warrant selection for the Three Lions

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The Independent Football

Rickie Lambert topped his transfer to Liverpool with a goal for England during their 2-2 draw with Ecuador on Wednesday night, giving the Three Lions a lead they would relinquish late-on in Miami in the first of their World Cup warm-up matches in the US.

Lambert completed a £4m plus add-ons transfer to Anfield this week after five years with Southampton, which saw the striker rise from League One hotshot to England international. Having scored on his international debut against Scotland in August last year, Lambert has gone on to notch three goals in five appearances, with his latest striker an impressive thunderbolt to put England ahead.

Following a bursting run from midfielder Ross Barkley, Lambert received the ball on the right of the box and had no hesitancy to strike it first time past stranded goalkeeper Maximo Banguera before he had time to react.

In what was a lively yet concerning performance from Roy Hodgson’s England side, Lambert showed once more just how lethal his finishing could be, and with many predicting Daniel Sturridge to start in attack, could Lambert be a more suitable option?


In the Premier League last season, Sturridge recorded his career-best haul of 21 goals, which was second only to Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez, and was considerably more than Brendan Rodgers’ newest recruit Lambert as the former Saints’ man scored 13 times.

But the 32-year-old offers more in the air and is able to hold up the ball much easier than Sturridge as well as the other available strikers Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck, which allows midfielders such as Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley to charge beyond him and through on goal.

Watch Sam Wallace's latest World Cup video from Miami below:

His record is rather impressive as well, with his five goals coming in just 281 minutes of action meaning he scores a goal every 94 minutes when wearing the Three Lions jersey. In comparison, Rooney scores a goal for England on average every 175.7 minutes, although he has played 91 times for his country, while Welbeck’s ratio is very similar at 174.3 minutes. Both fall behind Sturridge’s record of a goal every 160 minutes, but on that basis none of them can challenge Lambert.

He could have had another against Ecuador too, had his attempted back-heel not cannoned off the post and into the path of Rooney to score the equaliser. Should they find themselves on the wrong end of the result in the first World Cup group game with Italy next Saturday, Hodgson could very well turn to Lambert in order to shake things up and got with a more direct approach.