Le Tissier urges Lambert selection

01 May 2014 02:01

Picking Andy Carroll for the World Cup instead of Rickie Lambert would be a barmy decision, according to Matthew Le Tissier.

It is less than two weeks until Roy Hodgson announces who will be heading to Brazil, with the England boss facing some tough decisions on who makes the 23-man squad.

One of those dilemmas appears to be whether to take Carroll or Lambert, who recently admitted he is in a straight shoot-out with the West Ham frontman to make the cut.

This season has been one blighted by injury for Carroll and means the last of his nine England appearances came against San Marino back in October 2012, whereas Saints rival Lambert has netted 11 goals in a decent second top-flight season.

Furthermore, only Luis Suarez has provided more assists than the 32-year-old, which is why former England and Southampton man Le Tissier is adamant he should go to Brazil.

"It is no contest for me," he told Press Association Sport. "No contest.

"Andy Carroll is probably better in the air than Rickie is, but not by enough to make up all the attributes Rickie has that he doesn't.

"For me, there is no comparison between Rickie's form and Andy's over the last couple of seasons. I don't even think it is a close decision.

"He has many more strings to his bow than just being a target man.

"I have been so chuffed for him and it is one of those fantastic stories of boys that have come up through the lower leagues and found a lease of life later on in their career.

"He has found a club where he can play his best stuff, a club that is upwardly mobile and he has some good players around him, which always helps.

"It has been fantastic for Rickie. It has been a great story."

Lambert's journey from putting lids on jars of beetroot in a Merseyside factory to scoring on his England debut is well-known, but Le Tissier does not believe the same goes for his array of skills.

"He didn't surprise me in the way he kept stepping up," Le Tissier, who was speaking at the CV Show on behalf of Vauxhall, the England Team Sponsor, said.

"I saw a lot of qualities in him that I saw in myself when I was playing. Neither of us were the quickest, but our football brains were as sharp as anything.

"When your football brain is as sharp as his, you can still have an impact and still make a difference in games, even though you're not one of the quickest players.

"He has got a fantastic touch and sees a pass as good as anybody. He does great set pieces, takes wonderful free-kicks and penalties. He has a lot of good attributes.

"He is excellent in the air, a strong boy, and all those attributes kind of make up for that yard of pace he hasn't got."

Le Tissier was also quick to highlight the attitude that accompanies the impressive aptitude of a man who lists Blackpool, Macclesfield, Stockport, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers as his former clubs.

"You would have no problem with him in terms of thinking he should be playing and maybe sulking just because he is in the squad, not the team," Le Tissier added.

"That boy would be absolutely delighted to be anywhere near the squad and is a fantastic guy to have around. He is such a humble, down-to-earth bloke."

:: Vauxhall are giving England fans the chance to "Enter the Lions Den" and send them off in style before the trip to Brazil this summer. Win the chance to watch England train at St. George's Park on May 27th by going to www.vauxhallfootball.co.uk/stgeorge

Source: PA

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