With Wilfried Zaha's inclusion widely predicted, Lambert's selection by Roy Hodgson was the major surprise.
Zaha's Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney has also been picked despite not playing any pre-season games due to hamstring and shoulder injuries.
United boss David Moyes has already admitted that he does not think that Rooney will be fit enough to feature in Sunday's Community Shield against Wigan at Wembley - but seemingly just days later he will play against Scotland.
"Obviously he is not fully match fit and that is pretty obvious," Hodgson told Sky Sports News.
"But the important thing for me was to have him in the squad and assess how many minutes he can play in the game and we will have to see and assess him when we meet up."
Hodgson says he did speak with Moyes before naming Rooney.
"I spoke to David [Moyes] and he understands that it is important to have Wayne with us," he continued.
"And Wayne of course wants to be part of the England set-up coming into these important qualification games, so we just have to accept that it might not be ideal that he hasn't played the minutes we would have liked in pre-season but it is very good he is able to join and be able to play the minutes we think he can play."
Hodgson would not be drawn on how long he thinks Rooney could play for, admitting they will need to 'assess' him next week.
"When we meet up we will speak to him and see and make a judgement call on that and our condition people might have to help us out as well because the last thing I want to do is play him too long and run the risk of injury, but he is available to us and we are appreciative of that," he said.
The England boss was asked about Rooney's future, as he continues to be linked with a move to Chelsea - but he said: "We have to wait and see what transpires.
"There will always be that situation and it probably won't be the first situation where I pick a player who I think is good enough but is not playing for his club side. I have had it for 16 months so I can cope with it."
Hodgson praised Lambert after handing the 31-year-old his maiden call-up.
"I think that this is a man that has come up the hard way, he has ploughed a very, very difficult furrow," said the Three Lions boss.
"He started in non-league and I first came across him at Bristol Rovers when I was at Fulham and he played very well against them and I even remember discussing him as a potential transfer
"But then the question is how can a guy in League One become a success in the Championship and then the next question is can he play in the Premiership and he scores 15 goals, so I think if any man has really worked hard to prove his worth over the years it is Rickie Lambert, and he fully deserves his call-up and at a time of course when a couple of people ahead of him in Daniel Sturridge and Andy Carroll are not available."