When news happens, text BAZ and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Lambert prepares for Ukraine test
7:00am Monday 9th September 2013 in Sport
RICKIE Lambert knows his decade in the lower divisions in England will not have prepared him for the lion’s den of Ukraine tomorrow.
Of the prospect of the intimidating trip to the Olympic Stadium, Lambert said: “For me, personally, I’m never going to experience anything like that.
“I’ve never done that before in my life and it’s going to be completely new to me.
“I’m just trying to bring what I can bring and hopefully that can help, and help the team, and help the gaffer.”
While he was happy to declare well in advance of the Moldova game that Lambert would start, England boss Roy Hodgson had been unwilling to offer such assurances this time.
“I'm sure he'll be expecting to play on Tuesday. I'll have to make a decision to go along with his expectation or surprise him,” said the England manager after Friday's match.
There is little doubt now about who Hodgson will turn to, though.
With Ukraine just a point behind England, who now top Group H, tomorrow’s contest has the potential to be a defining one on the road to Brazil.
“We all understand, of the two games, Ukraine is going to be the more difficult one, possibly the most difficult one in the group,” said Lambert, who is the first player since Peter Taylor, in 1976, to score in his opening two England appearances.
“We understand it’s going to be a completely different game, but the lads are more than ready for it.
“They’re very confident, training’s been superb and, off another win, we’re ready for it.
“The players here thrive on pressure and there will be pressure on Tuesday, but that gets the best out of the players.”
It will all be in stark contrast to what Lambert was doing the last time England faced Ukraine, when they recorded a 1-0 win in the 2012 European Championship.
“I was probably watching with my mates,” he said. “I can’t remember where at the minute.”
While Lambert should win his third cap tomorrow, Frank Lampard will be celebrating his 100th if he appears.
With Ukraine hoping to snatch top spot, and a raucous atmosphere inside the 70,000 capacity Olympic Stadium, it will, no doubt, be a night for experienced heads like those of Lampard and fellow centurions Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole.
“The three of us need to bring that experience to the table and show that we can get the right result,” said Lampard.
“We'll go there conscious they're a strong team but confident in our own abilities.
“It might not be the most enjoyable of games, but it's a big game on Tuesday night and we will give our best to get a result.
“We've got the team to get a result, without a doubt.”
Comments are closed on this article.