Press Association “Rickie can play as a 10, he can play up top or play off the striker and even deeper if you want. “I think Liverpool is a great club for him because I think Brendan Rodgers will allow him the freedom to play the way he does – which is satisfying because there are so many who try to stifle good players today.” Lambert’s career path is now the stuff of footballing legend as, being released from Liverpool’s academy as a 15-year-old and failing to make his mark at Blackpool, he took a job in a beetroot bottling factory to bring some money in while he tried to get a foothold back in the game. Macclesfield offered him that chance but even then it was not all plain sailing as a move to nearby Stockport proved difficult and he spent time at Rochdale and Bristol Rovers before enjoying his greatest success at Southampton. Prescott believes those life experiences have helped shape Lambert into the player he is now. “I am a big believer, maybe against the flow, in thinking not being in an academy sometimes helps you,” he added. “If you are told three times by the time you are 17 you are not good enough you start to believe it and sometimes the ones who come in fresh from non-league haven’t been dented and still have that burning desire. “I just admire Rickie’s fortitude. He has gone through some bad times, places you wouldn’t necessarily want to be, but he has always kept the faith and he’s done brilliantly and I’m so, so proud of him. “It’s a great story. Isn’t it nice it has happened to someone who has seen the bad times: been kicked out of football, gone and worked in a beetroot factory. I am dead pleased for him. “It’s a great story. Isn’t it nice it has happened to someone who has seen the bad times: been kicked out of football, gone and worked in a beetroot factory. I am dead pleased for him.” “He had gone out of the game a little bit and he was working for a living and he wasn’t quite at the fitness levels you expect,” Prescott, now a scout for Blackburn, told Press Association Sport. “But he is such a good lad I said to him, ‘If you trust me we’ll give you just expenses and when you get right and are physically as it should be we’ll give you a little contract’ – which is what we did. “He just had that desire, playing was more important to Rickie at the time, he was desperate to play. “He always had this awareness and quality about him. He was a midfielder as well as a centre-forward, he used to play as a number 10, but he sees things so quickly. “When we took him I didn’t play him initially but I said the higher he goes the better he will become and people looked at me as if I was an idiot. “In the lower leagues you get hassled, they tread on you, but a bit higher up they give you time and if you give Rickie time he will hurt you. “I just knew once he got into a higher level he would show people he is really capable. If he pulls the trigger that right foot is like a siege gun. “He is different from the two strikers Liverpool have got. I watched Suarez a few times in Holland and he scored goals every week and Sturridge is one who can do nothing for 20 minutes and then suddenly spring into action. Gil Prescott helped rescue the England international’s career when he was at risk of being lost to football, signing the then 19-year-old for Macclesfield after four months in the wilderness having been released by the Reds’ academy and then subsequently Blackpool. And while life in the bottom tier of English league football was not easy for Lambert, who scored a thumping effort in England’s 2-2 friendly draw against Ecuador on Wednesday, his former boss said even then he showed the sort of quality which has taken him to the World Cup. New Liverpool striker Rickie Lambert will seize his chance to play at the highest level as a determination to succeed has been the driving force throughout his career, according to a former manager.
Moscow, July 4: The Round-of -16 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup finished on Tuesday night and with two days without football before the first of the quarterfinals, here are a few things the past four frantic and entertaining days have taught us, says Xinhua news agency.1.Passing isn’t everythingSpain went out after losing a penalty shootout to hosts Russia after 120 minutes in which they completed over 1,000 passes — a new World Cup record. Yet the only goal the Spanish scored was an own goal following a set piece. Possession at times seemed to be an end in itself, rather than a means to an end. Way too often a Spanish player would check and move horizontally rather than look to move into space, making it easy for a brave but limited Russia side to pack their defence and hang on for a penalty shootout which had a feeling of inevitability about it.2.Belgium: It pays to be positiveThere were 30 seconds left on the clock when Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois caught the ball in his area. Most keepers would have been happy to clutch it to their chest to let a few seconds pass to ensure extra time. Courtois had other thoughts, however, rolling the ball out to Kevin de Bruyne who ran almost the full length of the pitch to start the move which led to Nacer Chadli scoring the goal that beat Japan 3-2. Maybe the Spanish should take note; sometimes speed and speed of thought are important, and it pays to be positive.3.Mbappe: New world number one?This World Cup is now without Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo; the two players who have dominated world football for over a decade now. With Messi now 31 and Ronaldo 33, this World Cup could show us who will pick up the torch. Harry Kane’s goals and leadership make him a candidate, but for sheer footballing thrills the torch may be headed for France’s 19-year-old Kylian M’bappe, who won a penalty in France’s 4-3 victory against Argentina and became the first teenager to score twice in a World Cup finals game. It was a breathtaking display of pace and skill that implies he could just be the next great superstar.4.Messi: No man can be an island at the World CupArgentina flirted with disaster in the group stage and although hopes were high that they could improve after beating Nigeria in the group stage, it was not to be. An impressive France side made Argentina’s weaknesses all too clear and with Messi out of form and surrounded by players who are simply not good enough to win a World Cup, defeat seemed inevitable. A great player can carry a team some of the time, but against the best in the world, reality is going to hit you sooner rather than later.5.The world may end; England won a penalty shootout.England do not win penalty shootouts. It’s clear that something important has happened and that the natural order of the world has changed, maybe we should start preparing for the end of the world… or maybe Gareth Southgate has been able to change the mindset of this young England side. Southgate’s men have approached this World Cup with hope rather than the fear that has dogged other campaigns. (IANS)
Newcastle on the other hand will be hoping to maintain their good form from last weekend, where they ran out 6-2 winners over strugglers norwich.All eyes will then be fixed on the Manchester Derby, when Manuel Pellegrini’s side travel to face Manchester united at Old Trafford.City are without the injured Sergio Aguero and David Silva, meanwhile Wayne Rooney will be hoping to get on the scoresheet. The 30-year-old striker is the highest scorer in the Manchester Derby with 11 goals.Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal says that his side must control their emotions.That Kicks off at 5 past 2. Elsewhere, Tottenham make the trip to face Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.At 4:15 the final game of the day gets underway when Liverpool host Southamton.Jurgen Klopp is still searching for his first victory as manager after disappointing draws at Tottenham last week and against Rubin Kazan midweek. The club are yet to release a statement.Elsewhere, Its derby day today in the Premier League, with action kicking off from midday day.First up is the Wear Tyne Derby at the Stadium of Light where Sunderland will be searching for their first win of the season under new manager Sam Allardyce.