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Lambert handed first England start
Striker Rickie Lambert will make his first England start in Friday's World Cup qualifier against Moldova, manager Roy Hodgson has confirmed.
Lambert came off the bench to score the winning goal against Scotland on debut last month.
And now, with Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge both injured, the 31-year-old will get his first start at international level on Friday night when England host Moldova at Wembley.
Lambert was joint-top English scorer in the Premier League last season after striking 15 times.
He has maintained that form so far this season, following up his debut header against the Scots with a strike for Southampton against West Brom.
"I have picked the team and Rickie Lambert will start, yes," Hodgson said in an interview with radio reporters.
"He deserves a chance. I can't deny had Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge been available, it would have been harder for him to get a starting place but I am more than happy to have a player of his calibre to start this game."
Sturridge was the obvious replacement for Rooney, who was ruled out for the games against Moldova and Ukraine last weekend with a head injury.
But the Liverpool striker carried a thigh injury into the Reds' victory over Manchester United on Sunday and he was on Thursday ruled out of Friday's game.
The former Chelsea man has gone back to Liverpool for a day of rest and he will join up with the England squad on Sunday at the Grove Hotel in Watford.
The England medical team will then assess whether he is fit enough to fly to Ukraine for the crunch game in Kiev.
Hodgson is unsure whether he will make the trip to Ukraine.
"(Sturridge) has worked hard at his treatment and the initial prognosis was that he wouldn't be fit for either of them but he didn't accept that," Hodgson said.
"He's worked very hard and had the necessary treatment but I think it will be touch and go.
"On Sunday evening we'll have a training session before heading for Ukraine. If he passes it then he'll be with us. Otherwise then he'll be staying with Liverpool."