The man who helped make Rickie Lambert an England striker
RICKIE LAMBERT came off the bench on Wednesday night to score England’s winner against Scotland on his international debut – but he might not have blossomed into a feared goalscorer had it not been for Macclesfield manager John Askey.
The 31-year-old Southampton forward joined the Silkmen at the age of 19 after being released by Liverpool and then Blackpool.
He famously worked at a beetroot packing factory during the beginning of his spell at the Moss Rose before eventually signing a contract.
And Askey, who was assistant manager and in charge of the reserve team at the time, says Lambert originally came as a midfielder before banging in the goals that eventually saw him reach the Premier League. record fee of £300,000 before moving on to Rochdale, Bristol Rovers and the Saints. He may have done things the hard way, but Askey, left, reckons the club’s current youngsters can take inspiration from his story. “He’s certainly gone the long way round but I think he has learnt the game because of it and become a better player,” he said. “Rickie came in and didn’t get paid for about a year so he showed a lot of dedication and must have had a lot of self belief to make that commitment.”
Askey is the main man at the Moss Rose now and has seen his side lose their first two Skrill Premier games 1-0 before yesterday’s 1-1 draw at Luton.
The former striker says it’s early days for his squad.
“Obviously the longer you go without a win, people start to worry,” he said.“But from my point of view it’s only the first weeks of the season and people could do well to remember that.”
He told Hearsay: “You could see the crowd lifted when he came on and it gave you a tingle down your spine when he scored because you could see how much it meant to him. I always thought he had the quality needed to play at a higher level, he just needed a chance.
“I was assistant-reserve team manager and was still playing when Rickie joined. He originally came to us as a midfielder but I spoke to him as we were short of a striker and he told me he had played up front as a schoolboy.
“He always looked like a forward to me so he went up there, scored a lot of goals and then progressed to the first team before moving on. He’s not done too badly since then!”
Lambert left Macc for Stockport County for a club