Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Lambert to fight for his place

Rickie Lambert is eager to get games for Southampton

Rickie Lambert vowed not to take his Southampton axing lying down after coming off the bench to score just four minutes into his Barclays Premier League debut at Manchester City.

After spending his entire career starring in the lower leagues, Sunday's opening match of the season was Lambert's first chance to test himself in the top flight. But Saints boss Nigel Adkins sprang a surprise when he left out the club's top scorer for the past three seasons.

Lambert said: "I was disappointed not to start. I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't, but there's no sulking between the lads it's just a case of being ready for when you get your chance and that's what I've done. I was on the bench and I was just desperate to get my chance."

He added: "Everyone is fighting for the 11 places and the ones who are not in there are fighting to get onto the pitch."

With his side 1-0 down at the home of the champions on Sunday, Adkins eventually turned to the 30-year-old, who made an instant impact by equalising.

Fellow substitute Steven Davis then incredibly put Southampton 2-1 before City hit back to win 3-2.

Lambert said of his landmark goal: "It means so much. You could see how much it meant when I scored because I've been waiting for that moment for a long time now.

"Obviously in the past, I've scored goals at lower level but I was made up to get my first goal here already."

Lambert took heart from the result as Southampton bid to avoid an immediate return to the npower Championship.

"I thought we looked okay," he said. "We managed to score two goals, and took the lead, so we're proud of the way that we played."