Scotland: Rhodes has time to make his mark, says Lambert

Jordan Rhodes and Gordon Strachan
Rhodes has not often been first choice for Scotland boss Strachan

Blackburn Rovers manager Paul Lambert believes Jordan Rhodes can still make his mark for Scotland.

Rhodes, on target nine times for Rovers so far this season, has not been a regular for the Scots since making his international debut in 2011.

"It's not by any stretch of the imagination gone away from Jordan," Lambert said of 25-year-old Rhodes.

"I didn't make my Scotland debut until 26, 27. He's an absolutely predator in the penalty box."

After scoring eight times in as many Scotland Under-21 appearances, Rhodes graduated to the senior squad during Craig Levein's time as manager and scored three times in his first five appearances.

However, those remain Rhodes' only Scotland goals and most of his eight appearances under current boss Gordon Strachan have been as a substitute.

Blackburn Rovers manager Paul Lambert
Blackburn Rovers manager Paul Lambert

And though Lambert, 46, feels Rhodes needs to improve his game outside the penalty area, the Ewood Park manager believes the striker's exploits inside the box make him "different class".

"If it falls to him, you think more times than not he's going to hit the target," said former Norwich and Aston Villa boss Lambert, who took over from Gary Bowyer at Blackburn in November.

"He's got a bit of work to do holding the ball up and linking play up. In the penalty box, he's definitely got a goal in him.

"He just loves scoring, even in training. He does shooting after training and he practices. He's willing to learn and work but as an out and out goalscorer, he's different class.

"We'll do everything we can to keep him."

Lambert also believes Scotland regular Grant Hanley's form at Blackburn can benefit Strachan's side.

"He's been absolutely excellent for us," Lambert said of the 24-year-old defender on BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound.

"Grant's a proper players' player. He's been absolutely colossal for us.

"If he keeps playing the way he's going then it's great for Blackburn, great for the national team."