Should he enter the action as England kick off their 2014 World Cup campaign in Manaus this evening, Liverpool striker Rickie Lambert will turn nightly dreams into genuine reality.

The 32-year-old is part of a Three Lions squad that begins the tournament with a Group D opener against Italy, having merited inclusion with his prolific Barclays Premier League form.

A tally of 28 goals for Southampton during the past two campaigns caught the eye of Roy Hodgson, and indeed Brendan Rodgers, who made the Scouser his first Reds signing of the summer.

If the whirlwind journey from lower league football back to his boyhood team was not enough, Lambert could bookend his renaissance by featuring on football's biggest stage this month.

"I didn't think this chance would come, to play in a World Cup," said the Englishman, who can boast three goals from six international appearances to date.

"But I've got it and I'm going to make sure I take my chance. Whatever minutes I get, that's the most important thing and I'll be trying to do my best.

"All the dreams I had as a kid didn't seem like they were coming true. But within the space of a year, they have all happened.

"I'm glad my career has worked out like this, because I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much at 18 or 19. I can take everything in, I can get the best out of all of the emotions and excitement. I'm loving it."