Andy Carroll 'faces battle with Rickie Lambert for England place'
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce believes strikers Andy Carroll and Rickie Lambert are competing this season for one England World Cup place.
Southampton's Lambert, 31, scored the winner on his debut against Scotland on Wednesday, with the Hammers' Carroll missing out with a heel injury.
"I think there's a choice for that type of player between Andy and Rickie," said Allardyce.
"It's going to be a challenge this season on who's the best of the two."
Carroll, 24, has made nine appearances for England, scoring twice, with his last cap coming against San Marino in October 2012.
He turned his loan move from Liverpool into a permanent one in the summer but is likely to miss the season opener with Cardiff, because of the injury he suffered on the final day of last season.
England are second to Montenegro in their World Cup qualifying group with three games left, but if they win their match in hand they could go one point clear at the top.
"Andy is looking forward to playing for us and doing a great job, which we would hope will get him to Brazil," Allardyce said. "I'm sure Rickie is the same. One or the other would go.
"I think it will be a competition between the two on who consistently plays the best this season. From a selfish point of view I hope it's Andy."
Lambert had only been on the pitch for three minutes when he scored what turned out to be the winner against Scotland, with his first touch.
The former Football League player also hit the woodwork and saw another saved by Allan McGregor from point-blank range.
"For Rickie it was great to see him come on and make a statement," added Allardyce.
"To get the winner against Scotland shows what he can do and what England might be missing a bit.
"It shows you have to have other dimensions in your squad no matter what level you play at."