Former Newcastle United striker Alan Shearer has said that England manager Roy Hodgson should consider including Southampton’s Ricky Lambert just for his penalty taking abilities. Hodgson is expected to name his provisional 23 man squad for the World Cup today. This is expected to spring a number of surprises with Ashley Cole being left out. Hodgson is expected to come out with a youthful squad for the World Cup with players like Luke Shaw and Ross Barkley being included in place of established internationals like Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard.
The inclusion of youth, though, puts more pressure on the established players during tense situations. Shearer, who has played several measures for the national team, says that it is also vital that England prepare for penalties in the best possible way. This has often been the place where England have been let down, but Shearer says that caution should consider taking Lambert for this reason alone. The Southampton striker has been impressive in the last two seasons with his goalscoring record, but he has also been one of the coolest customers from the spot.
Current penalty takers like Lampard have been inconsistent in the last few years. Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney are the other regular penalty takers in the England squad.
“One of the reasons I would take Rickie Lambert is for that eventuality – how important have penalties been for England at major tournaments in the last 25 years? Lambert’s record from penalties for Southampton is amazing, but I would take him to Brazil on merit for his overall contribution. To have him on your team, knowing that if it goes to a shoot-out he is a virtual banker, is a great feeling for a coach,” said Shearer, who has little managerial experience apart from a few games at Newcastle.