England manager Roy Hodgson has confirmed that Southampton striker Rickie Lambert will start for the national team in their World Cup qualifier against Moldova, Sky
Hodgson has chosen to name the entire starting XI, with Lambert forming a front three alongside Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott. The midfield also lines up as a trio, formed by captain Steven Gerrard, Chelsea’s Frank Lampard and Arsenal playmaker Jack Wilshere. Joe Hart continues in goal with the back four comprising Kyle Walker, Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill and Ashley Cole.
Lambert made his first England appearance in the national team’s last outing, scoring the winning goal with his first touch in England’s 3-2 victory over Scotland at Wembley in August. He won his place in the line-up by virtue of having played more regularly at the start of the season than Tottenham Hotspur’s Jermain Defoe, Hodgson explained.
“It’s partly the fact Lambert turned up fully fit, having played the three matches,” the manager said, adding: “It was a straight choice between Lambert and Defoe. Jermain hasn’t played and turned up with a slight injury. That swayed me to turn my attention to Rickie.”
Hodgson went on to say that he had no doubts about placing his faith in experience, as the side contains a number of players over 30, with the likes of Lampard and Gerrard now 100-cap veterans of the national scene. “Is it a reflection on Frank and Steven that they’re still playing?,” Hodgson said.
“You can argue that, but they’re under enormous pressure with their club sides too. They are playing at top clubs who are buying big players, but they haven’t been able to knock these guys off their perch.”
England team vs. Moldova: Hart; Walker, Jagielka, Cahill, Cole; Gerrard (captain), Lampard, Wilshere; Walcott, Lambert, Welbeck
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