Rickie Lambert: Ex-West Brom striker relishing lead role at Cardiff City

Rickie Lambert
Rickie Lambert scored on his last visit to Cardiff City Stadium, as a Southampton player in 2013

New signing Rickie Lambert is relishing being the "main man" again as he prepares for his Cardiff City debut in Saturday's Championship match at Norwich City.

England striker Lambert has had a frustrating last two years, making just 12 Premier League starts for Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion.

Now Lambert, 34, is refreshed following his deadline-day move to Cardiff.

"I want to be relied on, like I have been all of my career," he said.

Cardiff will be led by Sean Morrison at Carrow Road, with the centre-back inheriting the captaincy following goalkeeper David Marshall's move to Hull City.

But Joe Bennett, signed from Aston Villa, will have to wait for his debut due to a slight calf problem.

Head coach Paul Trollope says Lambert was his "number one target" during the transfer window and was delighted to have landed the player he signed for Bristol Rovers 10 years ago.

Now Lambert, who said Trollope was a major factor in his decision to join the Bluebirds, is anxious to repay that faith and play regularly again.

"Throughout my career everyone in the club has looked upon me to score goals, relied on me to push the team forward and at Liverpool it was kind of I was a chess piece and the same at West Brom," he said.

"In the Premier League most teams have four strikers and you become a certain type of striker, where I am used to being the main man and teams revolving around me.

Paul Trollope
Paul Trollope led a Bristol Rovers side including Rickie Lambert to League Two promotion in 2007

"Obviously if that happens the teams gets the rewards out of me, I feel. My record in the lower leagues and the Championship speaks for itself and I'm hoping with Trolls [Trollope] I can get back there.''

"I am desperate to enjoy my football again. I'm 34, obviously I want to be playing now until I retire, whenever that is going to be. `

"I don't want to be sitting on the bench and I don't want to be remembering the last few years of my career sitting on the bench somewhere. I want to be playing and if that means dropping down from the Premier League that doers not bother me whatsoever.

"I loved the Premier League, I loved getting there, I have had great memories. But being relied on, playing and being involved in a team week in week out means more."

Lambert said he had no regrets about joining his boyhood heroes Liverpool in a £4m move from Southampton in 2014, despite making only seven league starts for the Reds.

"I have been asked that question many a time and in hindsight may be you would have picked a different choice," he added.

"But no-one is telling me when Liverpool comes in for you, anyone in my shoes is going to say no being a Liverpool supporter.

"It did not work out but, at the end of the day, I still played for Liverpool, I played in the Champions League and still scored.

"It is something I am proud of, I wish it would have gone better but that's football sometimes. It went my way for years and obviously it did not work out that time."

Meanwhile, Trollope confirmed defender Morrison will be the new captain.

"Sean is going to be the new skipper on and off the pitch. He has grown in stature form coming on the scene quite early as a young centre-half, did well through his time at Swindon and Reading and through here," said Trollope.

"I think he is making good progress. He has shown really good leadership qualities on and off the pitch. He is respected in the group, he has shown a real hunger and desire firstly in preseason when he got injured and he pushed himself to get back available, which is a testament to him."

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