Without a shadow of a doubt the best thing about the England Scotland game was Rickie Lambert burying a header with his first touch. What turned out to be the winning goal came just over two minutes into his England career. I hope that for Lambert’s sake that’s not the end of his career too.
But for England’s sake we need more youth academies like the one at Southampton to start to bring on new young talent. And we need a complete overhaul of the structure of English football to make the most of the talent that is developed at club level.
Rickie Lambert deserves his England place. He deserves to be in the squad when we have our next competitive games – certainly ahead of Andy Caroll. But even Rickie Lambert himself will acknowledge that if he is the best English centre forward currently (and he is) and if Roy Hodgson is the best English manager currently (and he is) then English football is in a pretty parlous state.
Every time I see Steven Gerrard substitued after yet another woeful performance, I wonder how much longer will we have to rely on reputations that are fading fast if not already completely faded. At least Sir Rickie Lambert has enhanced his reputation today. His career with the three lions may not be long, but it is already more notable than that of some who were on the pitch with him tonight.
Let’s hope he can do the same on Saturday.