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Rickie Lambert retires - a look back at a fairy-tale career

Tuesday 3rd October 2017
Rickie Lambert has announced his retirement from football at the age of 35.  He experienced an incredible rise during his 20-year career, representing ten different teams, from non-league to the World Cup with England.
Born in Kirby, Merseyside, Lambert grew up as a Liverpool supporter and was on the Reds books before being released aged 15. He had a brief stint at the non-league side, Marine then signed for Blackpool in 1999, aged 16. A year later, Lambert made his debut as a 17-year-old. However, he was released by the Tangerines in November 2000.

Lambert was out of football for four months and worked in a beetroot bottling plant in the meantime. He was then signed by Macclesfield Town, a club in the third division at the time, where he would go on to play 44 times that season, scoring 8 goals. The year after, Stockport County came calling and Lambert joined them for a fee of around £300,000. He played for County for three years, until 2005, and scored 18 times for the Edgeley Park club.

Lambert's next move ensured he remained in the North West with Rochdale, still in League Two, signing for an undisclosed fee. He scored 22 goals during his season-and-a-half with the Dale, forming a prolific strike partnership with Grant Holt. The striker's impressive goalscoring exploits attracted the attention of League One side Bristol Rovers. He spent three years with the Bristol club, making a name for himself in his final season, 2008/9, where he scored 29 goals.

The following years were when Lambert well and truly established himself as one of the most prolific goal scorers in English football. He joined Southampton, then in League One, in 2009 for a fee in excess of £1 million. The Saints competed in England's third division for two seasons, gaining promotion in the second under Nigel Adkins. Lambert scored 51 league goals in his 24 months in the English third-tier. Therefore, it was no surprise when he made the step up to the Championship with ease, scoring 21 times to fire Southampton to the Premier League, ensuring back-to-back promotions.

On his Premier League debut on the opening day of the 2012/13 season, Lambert scored against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. He went on to score 15 goals that campaign and 13 the season after. He also made his England debut in August 2013, finding the net against arch enemies, Scotland. He finished his career with 11 caps for his country, scoring 3 goals.

On the 24th May 2014, Lambert was called up to the England squad for the World Cup in Brazil. Then, he realised another of his dreams: at the start of the 2014/15 season, Liverpool, his home-town club, came calling, signing him for an initial £4 million fee. It was a move that Lambert simply could not turn down.
Lambert only stayed at Liverpool for one season. He scored his first goal in November 2014 against Crystal Palace but would go on to hit just one more. Lambert then left his beloved club in the summer of 2015 to join West Bromwich Albion on a two-year deal. He played 20 games in the 2015/16 season, scoring once against Leicester City.

His career in the top flight came to an end when he signed for Championship outfit Cardiff City in August 2016. After a season plagued by injury with the Bluebirds, Rickie Lambert called time on a stunning career on 2nd October 2017.
Harry Mail

A big Hull City fan from Manchester. Keep an eye on leagues across Europe, the MLS and non-league in England.

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