The fairytale of Rickie Lambert: Beetroots to England international

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At the age of 31, Southampton striker Rickie Lambert wouldn’t have been waiting anxiously for a call from England manager Roy Hodgson yesterday.

Those days are long gone.

Instead, yesterday morning Lambert was by the side of his wife as she gave birth to their new daughter, Bella, at approximately 4:30am on Thursday. Marvelous news.

And as Lambert reveled in the birth of his third child, his phone rang. That call he’d always been hoping for finally came.

Hodgson had given the journeyman striker a day he’ll never forget. On the same day he became a father he was called up to the England squad, for the friendly game at Wembley on Wednesday versus ‘auld enemies’ Scotland, for this first time in his career.

As days go, August 8, 2013 was a pretty good one for Lambert.

This is a player who has made it to the top the hard way. Released by boyhood club Liverpool as a teenager, and then again by Blackpool, Lambert was resigned to working in a Beetroot factory on the side as he kept his dream of being a professional soccer player alive. In 2001 he signed for Macclesfield Town, in England’s fourth, and last, tier of professional soccer. The dramatic rise of Lambert was about to begin.

source: AP
Lambert scoring a spectacular free kick vs. Chelsea… can he do the same for England?

In his initial years as a player, Lambert was a midfielder with an eye for a pass and who scored the occasional sublime goal. But then following moves to Stockport County, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers he finally morphed into the talismanic forward he is today. The spell at Bristol Rovers saw him turn into a goalscoring machine and when Southampton were relegated to League One in 2007, they spent $1.5 million to buy Lambert as the first building block in a five-year plan to reach the Premier League.

His 103 goals in 196 games has taken the Saints to the promise land in just three years, and in his first-ever season in the Premier League in 2012-13, he finished as the joint-top English goalscorer with 15 goals. Not bad for a Beetroot picker.

So at the age of 30, Lambert had never played in England’s top league. Heck, at the age of 29 he had never played in England’s second tier… but any doubts people had over his quality in the Championship soon vanished as he scored 31 goals as the divisions top scorer, leading the Saints to two successive promotions back to the Premier League. He has won the golden boot as the top scorer in three of England’s four divisions, can he be the PL’s leading marksman this season? The boost he will gain from this international recognition will do him no harm at all.

His form in England’s top-fight last season was what convinced Hodgson to give Lambert a shot. And depending on what happens he could go to Brazil. Why should age be an issue if Lambert can score goals in the PL and for England? Manager Hodgson has faith in him.

It would be better if he was 24 and not 32 [By World Cup 2014], but on the other hand our intention is to do well first on Wednesday and then in these autumn games where we are trying to qualify for Brazil. If Rickie Lambert can help us do that and maybe when we get there, do well in the tournament, then I will quite happily turn a blind eye to the fact that he is 32 at that time because it’s not age that plays football, it’s human beings.

He’s a very good technician, good in the air, his understanding of the game is good and he’s scored goals. What more criteria do you want when you are selecting a forward? For Rickie Lambert, it’s a recognition of everything the man has achieved in football. I think that on merit, if we’re to pick someone who last year really stood out as a forward, scoring his goals and playing an important part in a very good season for Southampton, it was Rickie Lambert.

After all the trials and tribulations of his humble beginnings in soccer, Lambert is the undisputed leading man for Southampton. A fans favorite who is deemed worthy of wearing the famous No. 7 shirt previously worn by Matthew Le Tissier. Lambert is uncannily similar to Le Tissier, scoring stunning free-kicks and also netting 31 out of 31 penalty kicks for the Saints. (Le Tiss scored 47 from 48 in his career and is widely regarded as the best in the land)

But legendary comparisons aside, Lambert now has the chance to write himself into English folklore.

When England line up against Scotland next week, Wayne Rooney and Jermain Defoe may be missing though injury. Lambert may get the nod to start in front of almost 90,000 at the home of soccer, the game against Scotland will mark the first-time the nations have met since 1999. Previously Lambert stated his hero is England and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard… now they could be lining up alongside each other for England.

Expect the 31-year-old to embrace the challenge of representing his nation head on. Not matter what happens when Lambert pulls on the Three Lions jersey, the man from Kirkby, Liverpool has fulfilled a life-long dream. And has definitely earned it more than most. The cold, wet and windy afternoons playing in front of desolate stadiums in England’s fourth-tier are long gone.

Now it’s Wembley Stadium. Versus old enemies Scotland. Rickie Lambert. England international.

“It’s the dream I’ve been fighting for and hoping for all my life,” Lambert said. “I don’t think I’ll be forgetting this [day] any time soon.”

New baby, first-ever England cap and a fighting chance to go to the World Cup… not bad for a young lad who started out in the Beetroot factory. Not bad at all.

Chelsea in Portugal for Enzo Fernandez medical ahead of record deal

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Chelsea is ready to trigger Enzo Fernandez’s $129 million release clause and is in Portugal to conduct a Deadline Day medical on the World Cup winner.

The fee would break the British record set by Manchester City when it purchased Jack Grealish from Aston Villa.

Fernandez, 21, has been chased by Chelsea for some time and wants to make the move to Stamford Bridge from Benfica.

[ MORE: Weston McKennie moves to Leeds United ]

The Argentina star has a goal and six assists in 22 matches across all competitions, but his skills as an elite ball progressor are what most attracts the Blues.

Fernandez ranks in the 99th percentile of midfielders in progressive passes per 90 at 9.47 and in the 95th percentile in shot-creating actions per 90 (FBref.com).

Chelsea’s revolutionized its squad since the club was purchased by Todd Boehly’s consortium last year, with Wesley Fofana, Mykhaylo Mudryk, Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella, and many more.

Follow Peacock’s Sky Sports News simulstream from Noon-7pm ET Tuesday, and join ProSoccerTalk’s Deadline Day Show at 5pm ET.

Enzo Fernandez
fotmob.com

Premier League transfers: Complete list of January deals

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The January transfer window has again seen big-name imports into the Premier League, and the final hours of the window we saw a flurry of deals take place.

Chelsea spent big, once again, as a British record $130 million deal for Enzo Fernandez nears completion, while Liverpool signed Cody Gakpo and Arsenal added Trossard, Jorginho and Jakub Kiwior to strengthen their title hopes.

[ TRANSFER NEWS: Liverpool | Chelsea | Tottenham | Man City | Man United | Arsenal ]

Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur made additions to deepen their squads’ top-four pushes late in the window too and there were plenty of late deals for clubs in the relegation battle.

Below we list the confirmed deals from January in terms of ins and outs at Premier League clubs.


Latest transfer deals developing – January 31

Weston McKennie to Leeds United was a done deal on Jan. 30, as the American midfielder has joined on loan until the end of the season, with Leeds having an option to buy him for $36 million.

As for deadline day itself Jorginho has joined Arsenal from Chelsea in a big move across London, while Manchester United are chasing the singing of Marcel Sabitzer on loan from Bayern Munich after they lost Christian Eriksen to injury.

Chelsea are pushing hard to sign Enzo Fernandez and it looks like it could happen right around the deadline, while Bournemouth, Southampton, Fulham and Tottenham are all busy on deadline day too and pushing deals through late on.


AFC Bournemouth

In
Dango Ouattara (Lorient)
Darren Randolph (West Ham)
Antoine Semenyo (Bristol City)
Matias Vina (Roma) Loan
Illia Zabarnyi (Dynamo Kiev)

Out
Ferdinand Okoh (Dorchester) Loan
James Hill (Hearts) Loan
Will Dennis (Slough) Loan
Noa Boutin (Gosport) Loan
Gavin Kilkenny (Charlton Athletic) Loan


Arsenal

In
Leandro Trossard (Brighton)
Jakub Kiwior (Spezia Calcio)
Jorginho (Chelsea)

Out
Brooke Norton-Cuffy (Coventry) Loan
Miguel Azeez (Wigan) Loan
Arthur Okonkwo (Sturm Graz) Loan
Ovie Ejeheri (SJK Seinajoki) Loan
Harry Clarke (Ipswich Town)
Marquinhos (Norwich) Loan
Omar Rekik (Wigan) Loan
Albert Sambi Lokonga (Crystal Palace) Loan


Aston Villa

In
Aaron Ramsey (loan recall)
Tyreik Wright (loan recall)
Alex Moreno (Real Betis)
Jhon Duran (Chicago Fire)
Bertrand Traore (loan recall)

Out
Cameron Archer (Middlesbrough) Loan
Tyreik Wright (Plymouth Argyle)
Frederic Guilbert (RC Strasbourg)
Indiana Vassilev (St. Louis City SC)
Danny Ings (West Ham)
Jan Bednarek (loan recall)
Morgan Sanson (Strasbourg) Loan
Ludwig Augustinsson (loan recall)
Marvelous Nakamba (Luton Town) Loan
Aaron Ramsey (Middlesbrough) Loan


Brentford

In
Byron Wilson (Coventry)
Conor McManus (Bray Wanderers)
Fin Stevens (loan recall)
Mads Bech (loan recall)
Beaux Booth (Dorking)
Kevin Schade (Freiburg) Loan
Paris Maghoma (loan recall)
Romeo Beckham (Inter Miami) Loan
Nathan Young-Coombes (loan recall)
Vincent Angelini (Watford)

Out
Myles Peart-Harris (Forest Green Rovers) Loan extension
Aaron Pressley (Accrington) Loan
Lachlan Brook (Crewe) Loan extension
Edon Pruti (Hartlepool)
Mads Bech (Groningen) Loan
Ellery Balcombe (Bristol Rovers) Loan
Tariqe Fosu (Rotherham) Loan
Paris Maghoma (MK Dons) Loan
Charlie Goode (Blackpool) Loan
Sergi Canos (Olympiacos) Loan


Brighton & Hove Albion

In
Facundo Buonanotte (Rosario Central)
Jamie Mullins (Bohemians)
Mark O’Mahony (Cork)
Yasin Ayari (AIK)

Out
Aaron Connolly (Hull) Loan
Reda Khadra (Birmingham)
Ed Turns (Leyton Orient) Loan
James Beadle (Crewe Alexandra) Loan
Leandro Trossard (Arsenal)
Antef Tsoungui (Lommel) Loan Details
Lorent Tolaj (Dundee) Loan


Chelsea

In
David Datro Fofana (Molde)
Benoit Badiashile (Monaco)
Andrey Santos (Vasco da Gama)
Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid) Loan
Mykhailo Mudryk (Shakhtar Donetsk)
Noni Madueke (PSV Eindhoven)
Malo Gusto (Lyon)

Out
Bashir Humphreys (Paderborn) Loan
Malo Gusto (Lyon) Loan
Cesare Casadei (Reading) Loan
Jude Soonsup-Bell (Tottenham Hotspur)
Jorginho (Arsenal)

Chelsea transfer news
Benoit Badiashile (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Crystal Palace

In
Luke Plange (loan recall)
Naouirou Ahamada (Stuttgart)
Albert Sambi Lokonga (Arsenal) Loan

Out
Killian Phillips (Shrewsbury) Loan
Jack Butland (Man Utd) Loan
John-Kymani Gordon (Carlise) Loan
Malcolm Ebiowei (Hull) Loan
Ryan Bartley (Eastbourne Borough) Loan
David Boateng (Dover) Loan
Luke Plange (Lincoln City) Loan


Everton

In
Ellis Simms (loan recall)
Nathan Broadhead (loan recall)
Niels Nkounkou (loan recall)

Out
Salomon Rondon (released)
Nathan Broadhead (Ipswich)
Tom Cannon (Preston) Loan
Niels Nkounkou (Saint-Etienne) Loan
Sebastian Quirk (Accrington Stanley)
Tyler Onyango (Forest Green) Loan
Anthony Gordon (Newcastle)
Joe Anderson (Sunderland)


Fulham

In
Anthony Knockaert (loan recall)
Sasa Lukic (Torino)

Out
Idris Odutayo (Maidenhead) Loan extension
Anthony Knockaert (Huddersfield) Loan
Ibane Bowat (Den Bosch) Loan
Connor McAvoy (Partick Thistle) Loan
Josh Onomah (mutual termination)
Nathaniel Chalobah (West Brom)


Leeds United

In
Max Wober (RB Salzburg)
Georginio Rutter (Hoffenheim)
Weston McKennie (Juventus) Loan
Diogo Monteiro (Servette)

Out
Mateusz Klich (MLS pending)
Alfie McCalmont (Carlisle) Loan
Leo Hjelde (Rotherham) Loan
Max Dean (MK Dons)
Cody Drameh (Luton) Loan
Joe Gelhardt (Sunderland) Loan
Diego Llorente (Roma) Loan


Leicester City

In
George Hirst (loan recall)
Victor Kristiansen (Copenhagen)
Tete (Lyon)
Nathan Opoku (Field Masters Sporting Club)

Out
George Hirst (Ipswich) Loan
Ben Nelson (Doncaster) Loan
Jakub Stolarczyk (Hartlepool) Loan
Ayoze Perez (Real Betis) Loan
Nathan Opoku (OH Leuven) Loan


Liverpool

In
Cody Gakpo (PSV)
Billy Koumetio (Austria Vienna) Loan recall
Max Woltman (loan recall)
Jakub Ojrzynski (loan recall)
James Balagizi (loan recall)
Fidel O’Rourke (loan recall)
Rhys Williams (loan recall)

Out
Jake Cain (Swindon Town)
Jarell Quansah (Bristol Rovers) Loan
Luke Chambers (Kilmarnock) Loan

Liverpool transfer news
Cody Gakpo photo vis twitter.com/LFC

Manchester City

In
Liam Delap (loan recall)
Maximo Perrone (Velez Sarsfield)

Out
Josh Wilson-Esbrand (Coventry) Loan
Liam Delap (Preston) Loan
Kayky (Bahia) Loan
Joao Cancelo (Bayern Munich) Loan
Luke Mbete (Bolton Wanderers) Loan


Manchester United

In
Jack Butland (Crystal Palace) Loan
Wout Weghorst (Burnley) Loan
Marcel Sabitzer (Bayern Munich) Loan

Out
Martin Dubravka (loan recall)
Shola Shoretire Loan (Bolton Wanderers)
Charlie Savage (Forest Green) Loan
Ondrej Mastny (Portadown) Loan
Di’Shon Bernard (Portsmouth) Loan
Charlie McNeill (Newport) Loan


Newcastle United

In
Amadou Diallo (free) 
Garang Kuol (Central Coast Mariners)
Martin Dubravka (loan recall)
Anthony Gordon (Everton)
Harrison Ashby (West Ham)

Out
Garang Kuol (Hearts) Loan
Chris Wood (Nott’m Forest) Loan
Dylan Stephenson (Hamilton) Loan
Niall Brookwell (Darlington) Loan


Nottingham Forest

In
Gustavo Scarpa (Palmeiras)
Danilo (Palmeiras)
Alex Mighten (loan recall)
Chris Wood (Newcastle United) Loan
Felipe (Atletico Madrid)
Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United)
Keylor Navas (Paris Saint-Germain) Loan

Out
Loic Bade (loan recall)
Dale Taylor (Burton Albion) Loan
Aaron Donnelly (Port Vale) Loan
Ateef Konate (Oxford United) Loan
Brandon Aguilera (Estoril) Loan


Southampton

In
Mislav Orsic (Dinamo Zagreb)
Carlos Alcaraz (Racing Club)
Jan Bednarek (loan recall)
James Bree (Luton)
Kamaldeen Sulemana (Stade Rennes)
Paul Onuachu (Genk)

Out
Dynel Simeu (Morecambe) Loan
Dan Nlundulu (Bolton) Loan
Nico Lawrence (Torquay) Loan
Kazeem Olaigbe (Harrogate Town) Loan
Lewis Payne (Eastleigh) Loan
Thierry Small (St Mirren) Loan
Jack Turner (Braintree Town) Loan


Tottenham

In
Arnaut Danjuma (Villarreal) Loan
Jude Soonsup-Bell (Chelsea)

Out
Bryan Gil (Sevilla) Loan
Djed Spence (Stade Rennais) Loan
Matt Doherty (Atletico Madrid)


West Ham United

In
Luizao (Sao Paulo)
Armstrong Okoflex (loan recall)
Danny Ings (Aston Villa)

Out
Thierry Nevers (Bradford) Loan
Craig Dawson (Wolves)
Pierre Ekwah (Sunderland)
Darren Randolph (AFC Bournemouth)
Will Greenidge (Colchester) Loan
Harrison Ashby (Newcastle)


Wolverhampton Wanderers

In
Matheus Cunha (Atletico Madrid) Loan
Joe Young (loan recall)
Louie Moulden (loan recall)
Theo Corbeanu (loan recall)
Christian Marques (loan recall)
Lewis Richards (loan recall)
Mario Lemina (Nice)
Pablo Sarabia (Paris Saint-Germain)
Craig Dawson (West Ham)
Dan Bentley (Bristol City)
Ki-Jana Hoever (loan recall)
Joao Gomes (Flamengo)

Out
Leo Bonatini (released)
Joe Young (Telford) Loan
Goncalo Guedes (Benfica) Loan
Theo Corbeanu (Arminia Bielefeld) Loan
Leonardo Campana (Inter Miami)
Connor Ronan (Colorado Rapids)
Fabio Silva (PSV) Loan
Matija Sarkic (Stoke) Loan
Ki-Jana Hoever (Stoke) Loan
Jackson Smith (Walsall) Loan
Chem Campbell (Wycombe Wanderers) Loan

Premier League transfers
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Matheus Cunha  (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

Transfer Deadline Day, live! Join our show, send questions, analysis

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Transfer deadline day is here for January 2023, as the winter window shuts at 6pm ET on Jan. 31 for Premier League clubs.

[ LIVE: Every Premier League transfer deal as it happens ]

The clock is ticking late in the window and we will have all angles covered for you here at Pro Soccer Talk.

[ TRANSFER NEWS: Liverpool | Chelsea | Tottenham | Man City | Man United | Arsenal ]

From clicking on the links above to read the latest reports and analysis, having Sky Sports News live on Peacock all day long and to our own Pro Soccer Talk live deadline day show which starts at 5:30pm ET on Jan. 31, you won’t miss a thing.

WATCH: Sky Sports News live on Transfer deadline day on Peacock

Click on the video below to send in your questions for the PST crew for our deadline day chat where we will round up all of the deals happening late in the window, dish out grades to Premier League teams based on their business and give our analysis on the best signings of the January window.


Newcastle takes care of Southampton, reaches League Cup Final

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Sean Longstaff scored twice and Newcastle United navigated a concession to reach its first domestic cup final since 1999 by outlasting Southampton in the League Cup semifinal.

The Magpies entered the second leg up 1-0 on a Joelinton goal and moved their aggregate advantage to 3-0 in the first half before Che Adams scored a pretty goal to bring Saints within two at St. James’ Park.

But it wasn’t all good news as Bruno Guimaraes was sent off after Video Assistant Referee reviewed a hard, studs-first tackle outside the 18 with about 10 minutes to play and will miss Newcastle’s next three matches.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Newcastle seems likely to meet Manchester United in the final, which will be played at London’s Wembley Stadium on Feb. 26, as the Red Devils lead Nottingham Forest 3-0 after one leg and return home to Old Trafford for Wednesday’s semifinal second leg.

Newcastle is off to a final for the first time since the 1998-99 FA Cup, when the Magpies were beaten by the famed, treble-winning Manchester United side.

[ MORE: Weston McKennie joins Leeds: Is this a good move for the USMNT star? ]


Newcastle can dream of silverware earlier than expected

Newcastle suffered a precipitous decline under former owner Mike Ashley, and it’s been a decade since the Toon Army’s experienced European football via quarterfinal run in the 2012-13 Europa League.

It may surprise younger fans to note that the Northeast side qualified for the UEFA Champions League on either side of turn of the century, and the city’s been ready to erupt for their boys for some time. The vibes at St.James’ Park on Tuesday were terrific.

The Magpies not having Bruno Guimaraes — assuming the red card isn’t overturned — is a huge miss for the next three games, but they will have Bruno for the final against Manchester United’s mighty and experienced midfield assuming it holds onto its first-leg advantage over Nottingham Forest.

For Saints, they’ll turn their attention to the FA Cup and keep their attention on the relegation fight, which should be very, very tricky as Premier League sides are fortifying on this Deadline Day.


Stars of the Show

Sean Longstaff

Sven Botman

Nick Pope

Mohammed Salisu

Che Adams


What’s next?

Newcastle hosts West Ham at 12:30pm ET Saturday in Premier League play, while Saints are off to Brentford for a 10am ET kickoff on the same day.


Newcastle vs Southampton score: Hosts lead 2-1, 3-1 on aggregate


How to watch Newcastle vs Southampton live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 3 pm ET, Tuesday
Online: Stream via ESPN+


Key storylines & star players

Eddie Howe’s side has performed well above expectations this season, mounting a serious top-four challenge one or two years ahead of reasonable expectations. Getting to — and winning — a final in the same season would merely be icing on the cake for Howe, who took over the Premier League’s 19th-place side (5 points from 11 games) from Steve Bruce in November 2021.

Saints reached the League Cup final in 2017, but were somewhat controversially beaten by Manchester United at Wembley Stadium. Southampton have won more cup ties (6 of 7) than PL fixtures (4 of 20), which goes a long way toward explaining why Nathan Jones’ side sits rock-bottom of the PL table with just 15 points.


Newcastle team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Jonjo Shelvey (calf), Matt Targett (foot), Emil Krafth (knee)

Southampton team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Valentino Livramento (knee), Juan Larios (adductor), Duje Caleta-Car (suspension), Moussa Djenepo (head), Alex McCarthy (ankle)

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