He may be 31 years old but new international sensation Rickie Lambert may well find himself the centre of a heated transfer debate before the September deadline passes after the striker scored the winning goal on his first ever touch for England this week.
Lambert came on as a second-half substitute with the scores locked at 2-2 between England and Scotland. He barely had time to take in his new Wembley surroundings when a whipped corner from Leighton Baines landed right on the head of the Southampton forward, who wheeled away in delight as the ball flew past Allan McGregor.
The impact of the goal was huge for England and practically decimated the Scottish spirit. Lambert would go on to play a solid game, keep the ball up field and even had a chance to double his tally at the death. Such an impact on the international scene is bound to turn heads and fans in the sports betting world shouldn’t be surprised if a subtle bid from one of the Premier League’s top-half clubs doesn’t come in this summer.
Granted, at 31 his options are limited but that doesn’t mean he cannot play the target man for another few years. Southampton may be loath to lose such a talent but Lambert proved with 15 goals last season he can play at a higher level. If Liverpool lose Luis Suarez, then Brendan Rodgers could do a lot worse than draft in this centre-forward. Alan Pardew, meanwhile, may be tempted to add competition in his forward ranks at Newcastle, while a place alongside Dimitar Berbatov at Craven Cottage would greatly excite Fulham punters who follow on football.
Although a transfer is unlikely – Southampton will only receive small bids because of Lambert’s age – the fact he is under the spotlight will only boost the player’s on-pitch performances. Expect 20 goals from Lambert this season whichever shirt he plays in as a World Cup call-up draws ever closer.