Rickie Lambert Reveals Who Was The Biggest Influence On His Career
Tuesday, 28th Apr 2020 17:55
Rickie Lambert has been talking to Talksport about who had the biggest influence on his playing career and indeed his eating habits, find out who who that is here.
A few clues as to who truly made Rickie Lambert the player he became as he went from A League One player with Bristol Rovers to the Premier League and England caps, it wasn't Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool, it wasn't Nigel Adkins or Mauricio Pochettino at Saints, nor was it Saints then CEO Nicola Cortese, it was in fact the manager whom he worked with for the least time Alan Pardew !
Lambert told talkSPORT:
“I thought Mauricio was the best manager and Adkins was superb for me, but I’d say Alan Pardew was the one who had the biggest influence on me.
“He changed me from being a journeyman not taking it professionally to an athlete and an animal.
“He changed my whole concept of how to be a professional and how to push myself to the limits.”
“It wasn’t until I came across managers like Pardew where I started fulfilling my potential because until then I was kidding myself, I was making excuses, I wasn’t looking after myself, I wasn’t eating right, I wasn’t drinking right.
“I needed a kick up the backside and Pardew gave me that. From that moment my career took off like a rocket.”
“I was never the most educated when it came to food,”
“I would eat what I want and I was just in the drinking culture of League Two where you’d go out after a game or meet up after training during the week.
“I really enjoyed those days so I carried on. Football changed massively but I kind of stayed in those days where you could drink after the game.
“I didn’t feel the need to change my ways, I was leading scorer. I was about eight or nine goals in after a month when he [Pardew] pulled me in and said ‘listen what you’re doing might have been good enough for your other clubs but that’s not going to be good enough for Southampton, you’re a disgrace.’
“He told me what I needed to do. I was in the gym the next day fat burning. When I joined Southampton I was 16 stone but when I was at my peak in the Premier League I was 14 and a half stone. That was massively due to Pardew.
“Then Adkins came in and just pushed me onto a whole new level of fitness. As soon as I became that fit, the game became so much easier for me.”
Each of those three managers took Saints up a notch and Pardew was perhaps responsible more than most for building a side that could rise up through the divisions, he was working for the club before Markus Liebherr took over alongside then CEO Andy Oldknow in identifying players who could get Saints out of League two.
Sadly he would be sacked after only a season, many would say unfairly, but the players he was responsible for sourcing and signing in the days before we had the Black Box and Les Reed was the backbone of that rise.
Not only Lambert but Jose Fonte & Jason Puncheon, players who played in all three divisions in our rise, then those who got us out of League One like David Connolly Dean Hammond, Lee Barnard, Fraser Richardson, Dan Harding & Danny Butterfield.
It is likely that Pardew would have got us out of League One if he hadn't been sacked, but their were issues behind the scenes and although we had not got off to a flyer in the opening three games before he was axed, 4 points from 3 games was solid and we were moving forward, some would say whilst Markus was alive Pardew's job was safe, but after his death the manager knew his days were numbered.
The side that got us up to the Premier still had around 7 or 8 Pardew signings in it, his influence extended far beyond just picking a team on matchday as Lambert has attested, he got the best out of players and he knew what motivated them.
Would Pardew have taken us to two straight promotions ? That we will never know, but we can surmise that without him we would never have been in the position to get the first and that Rickie Lambert would not have had the end to his career that he could have only dreamed of back in August 2009.
Photo: Action Images
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