Lambert wanted to make England debut with Southampton

Southampton striker Rickie Lambert has said that he never considered leaving the club in order to gain a better chance of earning an international call-up, Sky Sports has reported, after he marked his England debut with the winner against Scotland on Wednesday.

For Lambert, it capped a remarkable rise after beginning his career with Macclesfield Town. Since joining Southampton in the summer of 2009 following a prolific spell at Bristol Rovers, the Liverpool-born forward has continued his impressive scoring record, with 101 goals in 190 appearances.

Last season was his first in the top-flight, and he ended 2012-13 as the leading English scorer in the Premier League with 15 goals. It was form that gained the recognition of England boss Roy Hodgson, and Lambert has revealed that he never intended to leave Southampton so he could play for England.

The 31-year-old said: “I knew that it would mean a lot to the Southampton fans and the club to see one of their own involved with England. They’ve always backed me. I always thought my best chance of playing for England was with Southampton.

I played in 38 games in the Premier League. I don’t think there are too may England-qualified strikers who get that opportunity. But I’d never have thought about leaving Southampton to enhance my England prospects.

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