Rickie Lambert hopes that Saints’ England contingent have enhanced their World Cup prospects after impressing in front of Roy Hodgson at Fulham.
The national team manager was in the stands at Craven Cottage on Saturday, as Mauricio Pochettino’s side stormed to an impressive 3-0 victory.
Lambert, Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez, who have all been handed their international debuts this season, each scored in the win, while there were important contributions from full-backs Luke Shaw and Nathaniel Clyne, who have also been on Hodgson’s radar.
The next few months will go a long way to determining how many Saints players earn a place in the squad for Brazil, but Lambert was pleased that they were all able to play a significant role in the club’s latest win, with Hodgson looking on.
“I thought the whole team played well,” said the striker, who has now scored ten goals this season.
“It’s nice that the England manager was watching our game, and we’ve managed to score and win 3-0, and not concede, so everyone on show, on the English side, couldn’t be prouder of the performance, and hopefully he’s seen that.”
While Lambert has this season been elevated into the national set-up, he has also faced the first serious challenge to his status as Saints’ number-one striker – a title he has undisputedly held since arriving on the south coast in 2009.
However, the departure of club-record signing Dani Osvaldo, on loan to Juventus, removes any doubt over who is first choice to lead the line for the remainder of the campaign.
Lambert, though, says he does not think his situation has changed as a result of the Italian international’s exit.
“I’ve always said when I get my chance I’ll try and do well for Southampton, and I think I’ve played most of the games this season anyway, so I don’t think anything’s going to really change there,” he said.
“I’ll just concentrate on the next game now.”
Lambert’s goal at Fulham, where he converted a low cross from Clyne, marked his 100th league strike for the club.
The forward described it as a “very special” moment to reach such a milestone.
However, it was a mark he would not have passed had he been sold to West Ham last month.
Lambert was heavily linked with a transfer to Upton Park during the January window, but a move did not materialise.
The 31-year-old said he has moved on from the matter and remains fully focused on continuing to help Saints’ cause.
“I did know about West Ham, but I don’t want to go into detail about it,” he said.
“I just want to concentrate, as I always have, on doing well for Southampton.”