July 23 2014 Latest news:
By Nick Wright
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Sam Allardyce has lauded Southampton’s Rickie Lambert and confirmed that West Ham tried to sign the striker in January.
The Hammers were reportedly ready to pay a substantial fee for the 32-year-old but Southampton eventually opted to keep him at St Mary’s.
Allardyce admits he is a huge fan of Lambert, who earned his first England call-up at the start of the season and has hit nine goals for Mauricio Pochettino’s side this season.
“We were keen on Rickie Lambert,” Allardyce said ahead of Saints’ visit to Upton Park on Saturday.
“There was some interest the chairman expressed but it never materialised in the end.”
Lambert’s remarkable rise to the top has been well documented since his England breakthrough.
The veteran frontman was released by Liverpool and Blackpool as a teenager but worked his way up through the divisions at Macclesfield, Stockport, Rochdale, Bristol Rovers and Southampton.
Allardyce has compared Lambert to Manchester United legend Teddy Sheringham and says he should be regarded as an “icon” for young players in England.
He said: “He’s had an outstanding career of a young lad starting at the bottom and never giving up. Never, ever stop trying to achieve your dreams or your goals.
“Even moving into his 30s, he’s now playing with intelligence and skill greater than he has ever done before.
“He’s conquered the question marks about whether he could step up to the top level. I think he’s a fantastic icon for any youngster.
“At the moment he’s a master of his position. He scores all sorts of goals, including free kicks.
“You saw the free kick that he bent in a couple of weeks ago, but it didn’t get the accolades it should have got. That was world class, like his through balls, his finding of space and passing other people in.
“If I had to liken him to anyone it would be Teddy Sheringham.”