Lambe had my blessing to play for Bermuda, says Curle
Keith Curle, the Carlisle United manager, says he will never stand in the way of Reggie Lambe playing for Bermuda — but admitted the team's top scorer was “severely missed” last weekend.
Lambe captained Bermuda in their 3-2 defeat at home to Barbados in an international friendly last weekend, which meant he missed Carlisle's 2-2 draw away to Chesterfield in the Sky Bet League Two.
The 26-year-old has made a swift return to Cumbria and is back in contention for a start in his side's FA Cup first-round match at home to Oldham Athletic on Saturday.
Curle admits it was a blow to lose Lambe last weekend, but said he would never object to the player representing his country. “I don't think you can [stand in his way],” Curle told the News & Stars. “Reggie came to see me, said he had been called-up, and what were my thoughts?
“My thoughts were, ‘Reggie, you've got to go — you're captain of your country and it's a fantastic honour'.”
Curle, a former England and Manchester City defender, had to reshuffle his line-up in Lambe's absence, and opted for fit-again captain Danny Grainger on the left of midfield. He then moved Grainger to his preferred left-back role at half-time.
“Reggie was severely missed because of how we've been playing,” Curle said. “We tried to keep the same mentality, even through playing Danny higher up. It didn't necessarily give us that rotation in movement but it gave us balance. We weren't able to outnumber the opposition in midfield, so we had to make sure we could change. Players took on board new instructions and that shows a good understanding, togetherness and belief.”
Lambe admits it was a difficult decision to return home to play for Bermuda, considering his scoring form for Carlisle.
“I had a big decision to make with me being in form in the league right now,” he told The Royal Gazette. “But I decided to come back as I always will if the national team have a game.
“I spoke to the manager and he was a bit upset that I wanted to come back, but, at the end of the day, he knows and understands I'm the captain.
“He did sort of push me towards going a little bit and said that I was the captain and that it was an honour for me to have that role.”