Rickie Lambert: England call for Southampton striker

 

Southampton striker Rickie Lambert has been called up to the England squad for their friendly against Scotland.

Wayne Rooney is also included in the squad for the game on Wednesday, 14 August despite missing most of pre-season because of injury problems.

Rickie Lambert's rise to the top

Rickie Lambert

Blackpool 3 games 0 goals

Macclesfield 49 games 10 goals

Stockport 110 games 19 goals

Rochdale 68 games 28 goals

Bristol Rovers 155 games 59 goals

Southampton 196 games 103 goals

Rooney, who is reported to be keen to leave Manchester United following a bid from Chelsea, has suffered hamstring and shoulder injuries.

Manchester United winger Wilfried Zaha has been promoted from the Under-21s.

Celtic midfielder Scott Brown will captain a Scotland team boosted by the return from injury of striker Kenny Miller.

Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher is sidelined with an ankle injury.

Lambert's call-up comes on the same day his partner gave birth to a daughter, named Bella Rose.

"I think if a man has really worked as hard over the years to prove his worth as Rickie Lambert, I think he really deserves this call-up, at a time of course when a couple of players who might have got a nod in front of him - Daniel Sturridge and Andy Carroll - are unavailable," said manager Roy Hodgson.

The forward, 31, scored 15 goals as he played Premier League football for the first time last season having spent much of his career in lower divisions.

He began his career at Blackpool but was released on a free transfer in 2000.

The forward went on to play for Macclesfield, Stockport, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers before joining then-League One side Southampton for £1m in August 2009.

No hesitation over Lambert - Hodgson

Lambert's goals helped them win successive promotions and he went on to play a key role for the Saints in the top flight.

He finished last season as the joint leading English goalscorer in the Premier League along with Frank Lampard.

In a bid to ensure he is fit to form a potential partnership with Lambert, Manchester United striker Rooney trained with the club's reserve team on Thursday.

The 27-year-old wanted a hard work-out instead of the gentle session planned for the first team ahead of Rio Ferdinand's testimonial against Sevilla on Friday.

He has missed all six of United's pre-season matches so far, having flown home from Thailand less than 24 hours after his arrival because of a hamstring injury, then picking up a minor shoulder problem that prevented him from travelling to Stockholm for Tuesday's 1-1 draw with AIK.

Hodgson added: "He is not fully match fit, that's pretty obvious, but the important thing for me was to have him with us in the squad and to assess how many minutes he can play in the game.

"I've spoken to [Manchester United manager] David Moyes and he understands that it is important for us to have Wayne with us and Wayne himself wants to be part of the England set-up coming into these important qualifying games.

He is not fully match fit, that's pretty obvious, but the important thing for me was to have him with us in the squad and to assess how many minutes he can play in the game

Roy Hodgson on Wayne Rooney

"We just have to accept that it's not ideal that he hasn't played the minutes we would have liked in pre-season, but it's very good he is able to join us and be available to play the minutes we think he can play."

Rooney's team-mate Zaha returns to the England squad for the first time since playing for seven minutes against Sweden in Stockholm last November.

He was part of the Under-21 squad that failed to get out of their group at the 2013 European Championship in June.

Manager Roy Hodgson will also take charge of the Under-21 team for the game against Scotland on Tuesday.

Sporting Lisbon's defender Eric Dier, Everton full-back John Stones and West Bromwich Albion striker Saido Berahino are among eight new players in the squad.

England squad:

Goalkeepers: Ben Foster, Joe Hart, John Ruddy

Defenders: Leighton Baines, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, Phil Jagielka, Glen Johnson, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Kyle Walker

Midfielders: Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Jack Wilshere, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Ashley Young, Wilfried Zaha,

Strikers: Jermain Defoe, Rickie Lambert, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck