Southampton striker Rickie Lambert celebrates England call and new arrival
Rickie Lambert struggled for words after earning his first England call-up just a few hours after his wife gave birth
Last Updated: 08/08/13 7:03pm
Lambert and his wife dashed to hospital at 2am on Thursday morning and two-and-a-half hours later the Southampton striker became a dad for the third time.
The birth of his first daughter Bella Rose was not to be the only momentous thing to happen to the 31-year-old Southampton striker, however.
The Football Association rang Southampton around midday to inform them that Lambert had been included in Roy Hodgson's 25-man squad for next week's friendly against Scotland and they relayed the message to a gobsmacked Lambert soon after.
"It's been a special day and I'm trying to absorb what's happened," Lambert told Southampton's website. "It's hard to describe how I'm feeling, if I'm being honest. Today has been a bit of a blur because there are a few things that have happened in my life and I'm trying to take them in.
"I was obviously already over the moon about the birth of my daughter - she was born at half-past-four this morning, and she's doing fine and so is the mother. And I'm absolutely delighted to be involved with England. It's the dream I've been fighting for and hoping for all my life.
"I don't think I'll be forgetting this [day] any time soon."
Lambert's route to England selection has been far from orthodox. Born in Kirkby, Merseyside, he joined Blackpool aged 16 but was released two years later having made just three substitute appearances.
After being without a club for four months, Lambert joined League Two Macclesfield before he had spells at Stockport, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers.
A move to Southampton in 2009 allowed him to move up the leagues and having helped Saints gain promotion to the Premier League in the 2011-12 season, Lambert took to the top-flight easily, bagging 15 goals to become the joint-top English scorer in the division with Frank Lampard.
He concedes he never thought he would get the chance to don the Three Lions when he was playing in the darker reaches of the Football League.
Lambert said: "For most of my career I didn't think it'd ever happen but, for the last year or so, I thought there might be a slight chance so to get the call-up has been a dream come true.
"I'm over the moon just to be involved, but I want to make a claim and show that I'm here for the future," he continued. "Obviously I understand my age means I'm not going to be there for the long term, but I am hoping that I can bring something to the squad over the next year or so.
"I am just concentrating on being at the top of my game, and if I can help [England] then that'll be brilliant."
Injuries to Andy Carroll and Daniel Sturridge have helped Lambert get his first call-up and there is a chance he could feature against Scotland at Wembley next Wednesday as Wayne Rooney and Jermain Defoe are both carrying injuries.
Hodgson considered signing Lambert for Fulham after being impressed by the physical striker when he played against the west London club for Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup five years ago.
The England manager therefore had no qualms about selecting the burly frontman, and he even suggested that he would consider taking him to Brazil for the World Cup if he continues his excellent club form.
Hodgson said: "He deserves it because he has ploughed a very difficult furrow to get this far and wherever he has gone he has done extremely well.
"If Rickie Lambert can help us qualify, I will quite happily turn a blind eye to the fact that he is 32 at that time because it's not age that plays football, it's human beings."