HomeFeatured ArticlesRickie Lambert | Deserved England Call Up? 12/13 Stats

Rickie Lambert | Deserved England Call Up? 12/13 Stats

With the Premier League season just round the corner, the England squad announcements will start to come thick and fast, and it’s safe to say the fans are losing faith with the England team and selection process. Every so often though a player from outside of England’s top elite sides is called up to the international squad – this time it’s Rickie Lambert’s turn.


As a player who has played the majority of his career in the lower reaches of the football league, Lambert has gained the reputation of a hard-working centre forward and his call up will please fans who claim the current England players lack passion. He is a player that fans can relate to due to the spell of working in a beetroot factory after the 31-year-old was released by Liverpool and Blackpool early in his career – an experience that has become a rarity for modern day footballers.

Lambert managed to craft out a career in the lower leagues with Macclesfield, Stockport County, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers where his goal scoring exploits earned him a £1m to Southampton. Since then, the striker hasn’t looked back as Southampton won successive promotions to the Premier League in his second season (his debut year at the south coast club saw Southampton miss out on promotion due to a 15 point penalty) before impressing in the England’s top flight last season.

The Southampton striker was the highest English goal scorer in the Premier League, joint with Frank Lampard who both got 15 goals, as he continued his impressive record at Southampton of 103 goals in 196 games for the club and prove his worth as a potential international player. A chance conversion rate of 19% shows how impressive he was compared the Premier League’s top strikers last season with only Van Persie, Lukaku, and Michu (who all scored more goals than Lambert) having a higher percentage.

Chance conversion rate
Chance Conversion Rates 12/13 (Minimum 75 Shots)

Lambert isn’t just a goal scorer however, he also created 80 chances throughout last season and ended up assisting 5 goals in total – a number that could have been higher if his team mates had converted a few more of the 12 clear cut chances he created. This shows that Lambert is able to offer an alternative to his game, as well as being an excellent free kick and penalty taker (a record of 31 in 31 at Southampton), rather than just being a goal scorer – an essential part of a modern centre forward with a lone striker being used throughout Europe’s top teams.

Rickie Lambert's Creativity Stats (Left) and Attacking Stats (Right) 12/13
Rickie Lambert’s Creativity Stats (Left) and Attacking Stats (Right) 12/13

The selection process by England managers in the last decade has been blasted as bias towards the bigger clubs even if the chosen players haven’t performed to a standard you would expect for an English national side. That’s only part of the problem though.

The England squad is made up of players that are good players but some are picked without considering the system that is used, with several managers trying to use Lampard and Gerrard as a midfield pairing in a 4-4-2 despite previous failings coming to mind. Countries such as Italy pick a team that perform well at international level and suited for the formation and system that Cesare Prandelli, manager of the Italian national team, prefers even if the club form of some players decrease –  this is similar to Danny Welbeck’s inclusion in the squad who despite not being a prolific scorer for Manchester United has performed well for England since Hodgson’s arrival.

While Rickie Lambert performed admirably last season and has been a goal scorer throughout his career at every club or level he has played; the selection will deemed as slightly pointless if he is not to included in the squad that travels to Brazil (if England even manage to qualify) with the likes of Gary Hooper and Southampton team mate Jay Rodriguez offering an longer term option for England and boasting impressive performances for their respective clubs.

That doesn’t mean the Southampton striker doesn’t deserve a call up, he’s a decent striker with a good technical ability – a reason why he got a call from Roy Hodgson and Grant Holt spent last summer moaning to the press about his lack of involvement – and also provides encouragement to players who aren’t in the Premier League that they could have a chance of representing their country.

The fact that fans are excited about the inclusion of Rickie Lambert though while Spain struggle to fit the likes of Llorente and Soldado into their squad shows the current state of English football.

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