Lambert sets sights on another milestone

Rickie Lambert

Rickie Lambert

First published in Football

Rickie Lambert is closing in on yet another major milestone in his career after breaking through the 100-goal barrier for Saints.

The striker brought up his ton in Sunday’s 4-2 defeat at Newcastle, becoming only the tenth player in the post-war era to reach that mark for the club.

But the records are not set to stop there, as Lambert is now just a few shy of completing a double century of career league goals.

Only two players currently appearing in the top four divisions of the English game have reached that landmark.

Lambert is now on 195 and on course to hit the target before the end of the season.

Among currently active players, only former Saint Kevin Phillips, 39, and Jamie Cureton, 37, have passed the 200 mark in league goals.

Phillips, on loan to Crystal Palace from Blackpool, has an incredible 244 league goals at an average of 0.43 per game.

Cureton, currently at Exeter City, has netted 224 league goals at an average of 0.35.

Lambert’s average is in between the pair at 0.39.

Lambert’s teammate, Morgan Schneiderlin, believes the forward is one of the best English strikers currently in the business.

“You have maybe Wayne Rooney who is on top of everyone, but after that Rickie is up there,” he said.

“I don’t really have to say anything. His stats and his performances speak for themselves.

“He’s an amazing player. He proved in every league he went that he can score goals, and he will score goals.”

But it is not just his ability to put the ball in the net that sets him apart, according to Schneiderlin.

He insists that Lambert’s game is about far more than just his predatory instincts.

“He can keep the ball, he gives you time to breathe, he’s a very good player,” said the French midfielder.

“Out of my four goals I’ve scored this year, he’s passed me three times the ball.

“He is someone who has great vision as well.”

Schneiderlin revealed he cannot understand why Lambert has not yet received international recognition from his country.

The 31-year-old’s 12 goals this season, in his first Premier League campaign, make him the top English scorer in the division.

Schneiderlin said: “I really hope that he’s going to get what he deserves, which is an England call-up.

“Seriously, I don’t know what they’re waiting for to call him up.

“He has scored 12 goals and I’m sure he will score even more.”

Lambert is also approaching the 500th league appearance of his career, with the visit to St James’ Park having marked number 496.

Assuming he remains fit and is not dropped by manager Mauricio Pochettino, he will hit 500 in the televised home match against Chelsea, on Sunday, March 31.

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