Who should go to the World Cup: Andy Carroll or Rickie Lambert?

Carroll looks to be in a straight fight with Lambert for a seat on the plane. Photo: PA

Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck can already start thinking about their choice of in-flight entertainment - bar any injuries they are all certainties to be on the plane to Brazil.

There is one free seat left for a striker and, with Jay Rodriguez injured, it looks like it will be a two-way fight for that final berth.

It's likely that Roy Hodgson will be looking for a 'number nine' striker and Rickie Lambert is thought to be leading the way over Andy Carroll, the latter had the perfect platform on Sunday against his old team, Liverpool, to make the England boss have a rethink.

Brendan Rodgers deemed Carroll surplus to requirements as his 'big man' style of play didn't fit in with the fast moving, fluid philosophy that has turned the Reds into title challengers.

Carroll was desperate to prove a point to his old boss and he did - albeit by seemingly bending the rules - the pony-tailed striker had a huge hand, literally, in West Ham's equalising goal after he seemed to block Reds 'keeper Simon Mignolet with his arm, allowing Guy Demel to stab the ball home.

Carroll dominated Skrtel in the air. Credit: PA

The 25-year-old Carroll has one immediate advantage over Lambert; his 6ft 4in frame is a daunting presence upfront - he utilised both his height and strength all afternoon against his former employers, almost scoring a second for the Hammers with a bullet header only for it to hit the bar.

Lambert's qualities are different to Carroll and it could be argued that he brings more to the table. His link-up play is excellent, he is capable of dropping deep to collect the ball and he has the ability to play to a high tempo due to his usually impeccable first touch, not to mention the fact he has never missed a penalty in his professional career.

Carroll, however, likes to hang on the last defender and bring others into to play using his height via his chest or head, but his first touch is unpredictable, as evident at Upton Park where he wildly swung his left foot to gift Liverpool possession a number of times.

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Neither Carroll nor Lambert will start for England - the one who makes the plane will be a Plan B and will aim to make an impact from the bench.

If impact is what Hodgson is looking for then the England boss should opt for the West Ham forward; if the Three Lions are chasing the game and need to throw whatever they can into the opposition box it's clear Carroll would cause more damage - both his goals in the league this season have come from his head.

Hammers boss Sam Allardyce has said his striker should be taken to Brazil, saying: "I think Andy is a fantastic alternative (for England) in so much as you can change from the plan that you've got, whether you start with him or bring him off the bench… Roy can't ignore him.'

Lambert may be tidier and keep you the ball but when chasing a game Carroll's gung-ho, full tilt approach would put the frighteners on any defender at international level.

One thing is for sure, Carroll is back making a nuisance of himself - and Allardyce is right - he can't be ignored.