Rickie Lambert: Beetroot Boy to England Hero

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Rickie Lambert has completed a Roy of the Rovers style fairytale story.

His journey began in a beetroot factory screwing lids onto jars for a £20-a-day job, and culminated in a match-winning goal in a packed Wembley Stadium with his first touch on his England debut.

Lambert came on as a sub in the 67th minute, replacing the unfit Wayne Rooney.

The game was tied 2-2, and England was desperate for a goal to put them in the lead for the first time in the match.

England had already come back from behind twice, after Theo Walcott cancelled out Scotland's opener, and then Danny Welbeck converted after the Three Lions fell behind to a Kenny Miller goal.

Yet to touch the ball, Rickie Lambert positioned himself in the box for a corner after Oxlade-Chamberlain attempted to slip in Leighton Baines.

It was Baines who sent in the corner, and Lambert who finished it off.

The Saints striker rose impeccably, and bulleted a header directly into the top corner.

It was the stuff of fairytales, the stuff of dreams – a real-life Cinderella story.

Lambert had begun his career playing for Blackpool, but failed to impress after making just three appearances, and scoring no goals.

He was released by the club, and was forced to enter into a part-time job at a beetroot factory just to cover the costs of getting to training in Macclesfield.

Lambert persevered, however, and started making a name for himself by playing for a series of football league clubs including Stockport, Rochdale, and Bristol Rovers.

Finally, Southampton signed the forward from Bristol Rovers, and he has since played a vital role in the Saints rise to the English Premier League.

Last season the new England forward scored 15 goals as he helped his club stay clear of relegation.

This week the striker gained his first international call up, on the same day his partner gave birth to a beautiful young girl, as Lambert became part of the England squad.

Then, with his team tied 2-2 in one of the oldest rivalries in all of football, in front of a packed Wembley Stadium, Rickie Lambert scored the decisive goal with his first touch to a complete a dream debut.

Speaking to the English Media about his goal and his experience with the national side, Lambert said: "I've been dreaming of that all my life, it means so much.

"It was my first chance from a corner and I fancy myself in the air, it was a great ball from Leighton Baines and I got a firm header on it.

"I was trying to play it cool this week but deep down I wanted to scream. It was brilliant. The lads have made me feel welcome and I've got a lot of respect for them all.

"It shows how far I've come, I dedicate this to my family and to Southampton Football Club."


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