Crossed hundred and going strong

Rickie Lambert finished as the joint highest-scoring Englishman, alongside Frank Lampard, in his debut season in the English Premier League last year and is continuing to find the back of the net with great regularity this term.

In February 1979, Nottingham Forest broke the British transfer record when they paid GBP1 million for Trevor Francis. Some 35 years later, English Premier League sides regularly spend over GBP 20million on a single player, but Southampton have proved you do not have to spend a fortune to land a prolific goalscorer.

England striker Rickie Lambert joined the Saints from Bristol Rovers for GBP1 million in 2009 and has since gone on to score 101 league goals for the south-coast club.

The former Macclesfield, Stockport and Rochdale marksman opened his Southampton account on his debut and has not stopped scoring since.

Lambert went on to score on 36 occasions in all competitions in his first season at St Mary’s before firing 21 goals as the club won promotion to the English Championship in 2010/11.

He then topped the Championship goal-scoring charts as the Saints secured back-to-back promotions in the 2011/12 campaign.

Lambert finished as the joint highest-scoring Englishman, alongside Frank Lampard, in his debut season in the English Premier League last year and is continuing to find the back of the net with great regularity this term.

The 32-year-old has become a firm fans’ favourite at St Mary’s and is thoroughly enjoying his time there.

Lambert spoke of his pride after reaching a key landmark in his Southampton career and has vowed to keep up the good work.

After scoring his 100th league goal for Southampton in their 3-0 victory over Fulham, Lambert said: “It is special to reach 100 league goals. I am very, very proud.

“I am glad I have scored it. It means a hell of a lot to me.

“It has been the best four-and-a-half years of my life. I have given everything and I will carry on giving everything I can while I am here. I have absolutely loved it.”

Lambert’s rich vein of form for his club saw him earn a call-up to the England squad for the first time in August 2013, just four years after his departure from Bristol Rovers.

The former Liverpool trainee has since scored twice in four games for the national side and is in strong contention for a spot in Roy Hodgson’s squad for the coming 2014 FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil.

The forward has netted nine goals and provided seven assists for the Saints this term. He has also struck up a fruitful link with fellow England players Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez, something which will surely do no harm to the trio’s chances of going to the FIFA World Cup.

Lambert said it is a “pleasure” to play with the pair, who have scored 20 goals between them in all competitions in the current campaign.

“Obviously we have got a connection,” added Lambert. “We’ve been playing together for a while now.

“It is a pleasure playing with those two. They are on form, they’ve been on form all season.

“It makes my job a lot easier when I am passing to those two. It is good to play with them.”

After scoring his 100th league goal for Southampton, it took a confident Lambert just six minutes to add his 101st in his side’s 2-2 draw with Stoke.

Saints fans will be hoping the 32-year-old will go on to score many more for the club over the coming years.

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