Rickie Lambert will be 31 a week on Saturday. He has spent all but the last six months of his career in the lower divisions, but after scoring his 11th goal of the Premier League season for Southampton in their 2-2 draw at Wigan, he says he is disappointed not to be looking forward to an England cap this week.
Lambert is the joint highest-scoring Englishman in the top flight with Theo Walcott - and one ahead of Wayne Rooney. But he was overlooked by Roy Hodgson for Wednesday's friendly against Brazil. The brave header that stirred a Southampton fightback at Wigan leaves Lambert one short of completing 100 for the Saints.
"I'm not saying I expected it - I wasn't," he said, "but I was hoping. I'd like to get a chance because the manager thinks I'm good enough and that's what I've got to prove. I don't think my age is a hindrance."
Lambert's new manager, Mauricio Pochettino, is still looking for his first win after three games in charge after replacing Nigel Adkins. Lambert's header was followed by a third Southampton goal for Morgan Schneiderlin, but Shaun Maloney stole a late point for Wigan after the visitors, who had gone behind to a Gary Caldwell header, conceded at a corner for a second time in the game.
Eleven Wigan players will be away this week, a frustration for manager Roberto Martinez after just one win in 12 in the league. "It is tough because we don't have the size of squad to rest and rotate people," Martinez said. "Sometimes you ask how beneficial it can be playing a friendly at this stage of the season."
Goals: Wigan Caldwell 25, Maloney 90. Southampton Lambert 64, Schneiderlin 85. Substitutions: Wigan Gomez 7 (Stam, 56), McManaman (Espinoza, 75), Henriquez (McCarthy, 90). Southampton Davis 7 (Ramirez, HT), Lallana 7 (Clyne, 60), Ward-Prowse (Puncheon, 81). Bookings: Southampton Rodriguez, Cork. Man of the match Rodriguez. Match rating 7/10. Possession: Wigan 46%. Southampton 54%. Attempts on target: Wigan 3. Southampton 2. Referee A Marriner (West Midlands). Attendance 18,598.Reuse content