Lambert ready for Kiev challenge
Rickie Lambert may have endured soggy, unforgiving fixtures in the lower reaches of the Football League, but he admits nothing will prepare him for the experience that awaits him in Kiev.
Fifteen months ago Lambert was watching England play Ukraine on the television with his friends, but on Tuesday night he is expected to lead the line for England in the Olympic Stadium in Kiev.
The 31-year-old, who scored with his first touch against Scotland last month, set Danny Welbeck up twice and also got himself on the scoresheet with an opportunistic header as England ran out 4-0 winners against Moldova at Wembley last Friday.
The fact that the performance came 10 years after he was an unused substitute for Stockport at Port Vale just shows how far the former Blackpool, Rochdale and Macclesfield striker has come.
Even though the miserable midweek fixtures at Moss Park and Edgeley Park have made him in to the player he is today, Lambert has never known what it feels like to walk out in front of a hostile crowd at the 70,000-capacity stadium before.
"I've never done that before in my life. It's going to be completely new to me," Lambert said.
"I've played at all the Premier League clubs away, and for me personally I'm never going to experience anything like that."
Pundits were quick to jump on Lambert's selection for the Scotland game as a sign of the lack of squad depth at international level.
But the Southampton hitman has proven in the last two games that he can cut it on the international stage.
As good as it was, Lambert's powerful header against Scotland still left many unconvinced that he had the all-round game that is needed in the modern international game.
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