Double Celebration For Rickie Lambert

Southampton striker Rickie Lambert has been called into the England squad for the first time, ahead of next week's friendly with Scotland.

It comes on the same day his partner gave birth to a daughter at 4.30 this morning - she's been named Bella Rose.

Lambert was released on a free transfer by Blackpool 13 years ago and then went on to play for a series of Football League sides such as Macclesfield, Stockport, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers before signing for Southampton.

Hodgson considered signing the 31-year-old when he was manager of Fulham after watching him play against the west London team for Bristol Rovers.

The Three Lions boss respects Lambert for making it to the top after such a long journey.

Hodgson added:

"What really impressed me about him is that this is a man who has come up the hard way starting in non-league.

"He is a man who has worked hard to prove himself over all these years and deserves his call up at a time when a couple of players like Daniel Sturridge and Andy Carroll, who might have got the nod ahead of him, are unavailable.''

Sturridge misses out with an ankle injury he suffered against the Republic of Ireland in May while West Ham striker Carroll is absent because of a heel injury.

Jermain Defoe has been included in the 25-man squad despite a hamstring injury he suffered against Monaco last Saturday.

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