'A true footballing fairytale' - Goal's World Player of the Week Rickie Lambert

World Player of the Week
Rickie Lambert
AGE 31
PLAYS FOR Southampton

England 3-2 Scotland
West Bromwich Albion
0-1 Southampton

“It’s been the best week of my career, and my life," Ricky Lambert admitted on Saturday. He was not exaggerating.

Just six days after his wife gave birth to their third child, the forward came off the bench in England's friendly against Scotland to make his international debut, at the age of 31. An entertaining encounter was tied at two goals apiece when, but not for long, with Lambert scoring with his first ever touch. It was a winner. At Wembley. Against the 'Auld Enemy'.

It truly was the stuff dreams are made of, and Lambert did his utmost to take as many mementos as possible. “I’m getting my shirt framed. I didn’t get the [match] ball but took everything else that was on offer: training kit, polo shirts - you name it, I’ve taken it!"

As if all of that wasn't enough, Lambert converted a last-minute penalty in Southampton's Premier League opening-day clash with West Bromwich Albion to earn his side all three points.

"It's a true footballing fairytale," enthuses Goal UK's Sammy Lee. "This, after all, is a guy that only made his first appearance in the Premier League last season, after spending his entire career in the lower leagues.

"He's undeniably talented but what's most impressive about him is his mental strength. As this week has underlined, nothing fazes him. Even the spot-kick against West Brom was significant in that regard, as it maintained his record of having scored every one of the 29 penalties he has taken over the past five years.

"The Liverpudlian seems to embody the old adage that good things come to those who wait. His is a truly remarkable story and one wonders if the final chapter will be written in Brazil next summer ..."

Congratulations to Rickie Lambert, Goal's 223rd World Player of the Week winner!

The Shortlist

Roberto Firmino - Hoffenheim

@normusings: "The first Hoffenheim player in Bundesliga history who has been involved in five goals within the same match."

Goal's Falko Bloding: "Dribbling, passing and finishing all outstanding in the rout of Hamburg."

S. Lichtsteiner - Juventus

 @diazMraz_: "Absolutely dominated the right side. A beast!!"

Goal's Kris Voakes: "The sensational Swiss wing-back bagged an assist and a superb solo strike in the Coppa Italiana demolition of Lazio."

Guillermo Ochoa - Ajaccio

@BeardEric: "From sprawling to stop an onrushing Ibra to saving a pile of other shots, Guillermo Ochoa was immense v PSG."

Goal's Robin Bairner: "A quite breathtaking goalkeeping performance. Took a late stunner from Cavani to beat him."

Oribe Peralta - Santos Laguna

@aveazulcrema: "Oribe Peralta is on fire, two goals with Mexico and two more tonight against Tigres. Watch out!!!"

Goal's Eric Gomez: "His performances this week have raised the question of whether he should replace Javier Hernandez in Mexico's attack."