Roy Hodgson admits Rickie Lambert concerns

England boss Roy Hodgson admits concerns over using Rickie Lambert against Ukraine tonight, but praises the Southampton striker's mental strength.

England manager Roy Hodgson has moved to play down expectations surrounding "fairytale" striker Rickie Lambert, but insists that he has the mental strength to cope with high pressure on the international stage.

Lambert has made the most of his call-up to the senior England ranks aged 31, scoring twice in successive games against Scotland and Moldova.

With England's forward line depleted by injuries to Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Andy Carroll, the Southampton marksman looks likely to start in tonight's crunch World Cup qualifier against Ukraine.

Hodgson has conceded that he fears England may be too reliant on Lambert for a focal point in attack in Kiev this evening, insisting that any continued success for the forward must be viewed as a welcome surprise.

He told The Mirror: "I think the one thing you have to say about Rickie is that he must have a very strong mentality. To suffer that many knock backs with people watching him but passing him over, myself included, yet still come through is fantastic.

"But I would like to if anything play down Rickie Lambert for his own sake because it is almost fairytale like that you get selected at 31 having played in the lower leagues and you come on and score a fantastic centre-forward's goal against Scotland.

"Tomorrow night I am bit worried we are going to hang a bit too much on him, the important thing for me is that he is going to play his part in the team and make certain he doesn't let us down in anyway in terms of what we expect him to do. And who knows he might surprised us and add a third one to the fairytale."

Hodgson's options ahead of the Ukraine game were further weakened last Friday after Danny Welbeck picked up a one-game suspension following a yellow card against Moldova at Wembley.

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England's Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard chat during a training session at St Georges Park on August 12, 2013
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