It looks like we had a few of you going with our story that Rickie Lambert has discovered he is eligible to play for New Zealand.
However, many of our fans are just too smart and correctly judged that Lambert, who scored his 14th goal of the season on Saturday, is English through-and-through.
We hope the story and video gave you a chuckle on April Fools' Day, and we must thank Rickie for being such a good sport – and a convincing actor!
The 'news' appeared on saintsfc.co.uk this morning as follows:
LAMBERT HOPES FOR NEW ZEALAND CALL
Southampton Football Club can confirm that Rickie Lambert is seeking to declare himself available for selection by the New Zealand national team.
The striker hopes to qualify to play for the All Whites by virtue of the fact that his grandfather was born in Christchurch before moving to England after the end of World War II.
Following encouragement by Saints’ New Zealand-born Sports Therapist Graeme Staddon and with the help of Club officials, Lambert is in the process of applying for a grant of citizenship by reason of exceptional circumstances and public interest.
Liverpudlian Lambert cannot directly apply for citizenship as New Zealand’s Citizenship Act 1977 says those born outside the country can only do so if one of their parents was themselves a citizen.
However, the 31-year-old is hopeful that, under section 9(1)(c) of the Act, he will be allowed to fulfil his target of playing international football for the country in which his grandfather was born.
Lambert told saintsfc.co.uk: “I’ve made no secret of the fact that I would love to play international football, but I haven’t yet managed to break into the England squad.
“New Zealand has always had a special place in my heart given that my grandfather was born there.
“I hadn’t really considered the possibility of being able to play for them until a couple of months ago, when it came up in conversation with Graeme. He said he thought I had a case, so it’s all gone from there.
“Everything I’ve heard from their footballing authorities and their foreign office has been encouraging, so I’m really hopeful that this can get sorted out sooner rather than later.
“I’ve been keeping a close eye on how they’ve been getting on in their recent matches, and hopefully I’ll get the call to play for them in the near future.”
Only a two-legged play-off match stands between New Zealand and qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil.
The All Whites are managed by Ricki Herbert, who coincidentally had a brief stint with the Saints in 1982 when he played a handful of games during a trial spell at the Dell.
New Zealand finished top of the Oceanic qualifying process with a 100% record in the final stage, which was sealed with victories over New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands in late March.
Among their current representatives is winger Leo Bertos, who played alongside Lambert at Rochdale in 2005.
The All Whites now face a qualification play-off against the side that finishes fourth in the CONCACAF region, which will be one of Honduras, the United States, Panama, Mexico, Jamaica or Costa Rica.
Those games will take place in mid-November, with Lambert hopeful he will have secured citizenship by that point in order to help the country of his grandfather’s birth qualify for their second successive World Cup finals.
Southampton’s First Team Manager Mauricio Pochettino has backed his prolific frontman in his search for international football.
“Rickie thoroughly deserves his chance to showcase his talents on an international stage,” he insisted.
“He is adored by everyone at this Club for what he has done since coming to Southampton, and it is only fair that he gets the opportunity to show people just what he can do for New Zealand.
“He has made no secret of the fact that he would be honoured to make the England squad, but we hope he succeeds in his quest to play international football with New Zealand.
“I had the opportunity to play for Argentina many times and it was a great honour, so I can understand Rickie’s wishes.
“If selected, Rickie will travel to New Zealand with the encouragement of everyone at the Club. As we say in my own country: ¡tontos de abril!”