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Race to Rio: Should Rickie Lambert be on the plane to Brazil?

by Josh Powell | October 17, 2013

Roy Hodgson’s half-time jokes leave a lot to be desired, but England are heading to Brazil next summer. Two of the leading front men for the Three Lions go head to head when Manchester United face Southampton this weekend. Will Rooney and Lambert need their passports next year and who deserves their place on form?

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Rickie Lambert ducked a ten-hour shift at the beetroot factory to score the winner against Scotland with his first touch, and win the nation’s approval. Plus he can score a penalty – surely he’s a shoe-in to get on the plane to Brazil?

Unfortunately Lambert hasn’t set the world alight with his club football this year but he wasn’t phased stepping up through the leagues with Southampton.

  • In the 2010/11 League One season he scored 21 goals, finding the net on average every 187 minutes and racking up 11 assists along the way
  • Lambert made the transition to the Championship look easy scoring 27 goals in the 2011/12 season, with a conversion rate of 29 per cent
  • In his opening Premier League campaign he was the highest scoring Englishman with 15

That’s not a bad CV to be waving under the nose of Roy Hodgson, and explains why Lambert, at 31, was given his England debut in August.

LET RIP: The 2010 World Cup did not go very well for Mr Rooney (or England for that matter!)

LET RIP: The 2010 World Cup did not go very well for Mr Rooney (or England for that matter!)

Wayne Rooney, bar any injury drama, has his seat guaranteed on the plane to Rio. With more than 100 hours of international football to his name, Rooney is one of England’s most experienced players and might be due one of his best seasons at Manchester United.

  • Rooney’s form has been up and down, scoring 11 goals in the 2010/11 season, sandwiched in between tallies of 26 and 27
  • Last year he managed a return of just 12, with a conversion rate of 14 per cent
  • He has started this season in great form though, racking up five goals in his opening eight appearances in all competitions for United

There is no question to who has started this season better. Wazza, courtesy of his magic headband, has averaged a league goal every 160 minutes and bagged two in just one Champions League match. Lambert on the other hand has just two goals to his name and has failed to score from open play this year.

Lambert is 11/8 to make the World Cup squad next year. Can Hodgson really afford to leave him at home if he knocks in another 15 goals this season? Especially when you can bank on him to score from the spot.

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Before either player even starts considering the trip to Rio there is the small matter of the league to get through, and both players will be gracing the Old Trafford turf this Saturday.

Rickie Lambert is 15/2 to open the scoring and 23/10 to score at any time. It is 7/2 for Lambert to be the first Southampton man on the scoresheet.

Rooney is 6/5 to continue his good form and find the onion bag at any time and 3/1 to be the first scorer for United. He is 9/2 to be the first player on the scoresheet with Robin van Persie the most likely man to break the deadlock at 3/1.

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