Jack Pitt-Brooke in The Independent: No one is suggesting Rickie Lambert is Denis Bergkamp but it is an ability that his main rival as England’s big man – Andy Carroll – does not have. If Roy Hodgson has to make a tight decision between them, it might make the difference.
Paul Hayward in the Daily Telegraph: Rickie Lambert was two things in this game: a romantic symbol, raised from the lower leagues to make his competitive international debut at 31, and a mark on the bottom of the barrel England scraped to find a fit centre-forward for the first of two vital World Cup qualifiers. He was Roy of the Rovers and Roy Hodgson’s talent dearth rolled into one; delight and desperation in one neat package. And just to make it really confusing for him, Lambert started his first England match two days after the new chairman of the Football Association, Greg Dyke, had told the nation there was no realistic hope of them winning the World Cup in Brazil next summer.
Neil Ashton in the Daily Mail: Ukraine will be new territory for the Saints striker, hurtling towards a World Cup qualifier against a team that put nine past San Marino in the Olympic Stadium on Friday night. Lambert has to start. He is rough and ready around the edges, but he’s just the sort of player England need in a game the national team cannot afford to lose. Even if Daniel Sturridge wins his battle against the thigh injury he aggravated against Manchester United last weekend, there has to be room for Lambert.
Oliver Holt in the Daily Mirror: What do you give a goalkeeper who has just chucked one in against Scotland? What do you give a guy who got himself in a horrible mess at the Cardiff City Stadium ten days later. How do you boost the confidence of a bloke who was once compared to Gianluigi Buffon but is now being talked about like he’s the new Massimo Taibi? Answer: Give him a night off... by playing him against Moldova at home. That’s what England manager Roy Hodgson got to do with beleaguered keeper Joe Hart at Wembley.
Oliver Kay in The Times: "It was always taken for granted that England would make light work of Moldova at Wembley last night. They won with ease, playing some nice football at times, but nothing they did — in fact, nothing they could have done — would suppress the feeling that the real tests in this World Cup qualifying campaign lie ahead, starting against Ukraine in Kiev on Tuesday."
Dominic Fifield in The Guardian: That tired debate about [Steven] Gerrard and [Frank] Lampard excelling in the same team feels redundant now with Jack Wilshere such an eager figure buzzing around the veteran pair, even when subjected to a regular buffeting from his markers. The Arsenal midfielder provides this team's fizz, a blur of energy who taps into the elder statesmen's clever movement. Their neat triangle exchanges cut swaths through Moldova and have the capacity to unsettle Ukraine.
John Dillon in the Daily Express: The Greg Dyke Show was interrupted by some football here last night and England seized the chance of some easy work and a timely boost to their wayward confidence. On this occasion, neither were to be sniffed at. Moldova were one of the weakest international teams to have visited the new Wembley. But it’s not as if Roy Hodgson has a side who can afford to pass up the benefits of some easy work and a timely boost to their confidence, is it?
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- Rickie Lambert
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