In August 2009, after a total of 155 appearances and 59 goals for Bristol Rovers, Rickie Lambert completed a move worth in excess of £1M to recently relegated League One club Southampton, who at the time were managed by Alan Pardew.
Rickie Lambert – after scoring against Scotland
And Rickie is in the Southampton squad for today’s game at St. James’ Park after making a phenomenal late surge in his career, and of course he’s now a full England International, and has looked good when he’s played in the England side.
On 14th August, Rickie scored on his England debut with his first touch of the ball against Scotland, scoring with a header just three minutes after coming on as a substitute in the 67th minute, and that gave England a 3–2 win – you talk about fairy tales.
Alan Pardew has talked today about his protegé:
“He was always a natural goalscorer.” “When I scouted him – left foot, right foot, heading – there wasn’t any weakness. He’s the closest player I’ve had to Dean Ashton, who’s the best striker I have worked with, and I’ve worked with a few good ‘uns. He is right up there is terms of technical ability.”
“In a way, I see bits of myself as a player in him. I began my professional career at 26, so I thought in a way it had passed me by, but it arrived. I then had a fantastic run.”
“What I did has been totally outshone by what Rickie has done in terms of playing for England, and I think he will go to the World Cup, but I always believe in players that it is never over, and you are still improving at 26 or 27. And he certainly did improve.”
“His technical ability was always immense though. He always had great technical ability, that’s why he was initially a midfield player.” “I think he would admit himself that perhaps his lifestyle let him down a little bit,”
“He liked a pint and a pie. I don’t think he would be embarrassed by me saying that.” “I had a couple of long chats with him about it. I remember when he arrived, I said, ‘I’ve just paid £1M for you. “
“I’ve put my neck on the line a little bit here at this level – you’d better get that in order’.” “But the player still needs to do it, and he has done terrific.”
It’s interesting that Alan had a talk with Rickie about his lifestyle, and when Alan arrived at Newcastle, he immediately made public that a young Nile Ranger had no chance of becoming a top player unless he changed his ways.
Nile never made it at Newcastle and is now playing for Swindon where he has scored 6 goals in 15 appearances this season, and its not just ability that makes a successful player, but it also entails discipline and perseverance, among other things.
What do you think?
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