Hodgson finds positives in England’s uninspiring Norway victory

Ashley Young scored the only goal of the game after nine minutes and the visitors, fielding a largely second-string side, were on the back foot for much of the match

Roy Hodgson has stressed that he is pleased with England's 1-0 win over Norway despite his side being the inferior team for large parts of Saturday’s friendly.

The Three Lions were bright and energetic for the first half-hour but took their foot off the pedal for the remainder of the game and conceded control to their Scandinavian hosts.

However, Hodgson believes that the national side have plenty more to give in the upcoming internationals and declared that a victory in Oslo is something of which to be proud.

“It was a great start for us because we know how difficult it is to win here in Norway,” he told ITV Sport.

“And of course we’ve had three tough days with training and I’ve been concerned about the fatigue factor.

7.0 Scored his fourth goal in as many England games with the winner in the ninth minute, accelerating past Hangeland with the drop of a shoulder and making no mistake with his left-footed finish. Seemed to enjoy the freedom of playing in the central role usually occupied by Wayne Rooney.
4.5 Took on the captain's armband after replacing Gerrard at half-time. Very sloppy and continually gave the ball away before he was replaced by Henderson in the 73rd minute.

“As you saw towards the end one or two players were feeling their muscles but that’s because we’ve worked so hard in training. Everyone’s been doing such a lot to impress me that I think we left a bit on the training field.

“It was a marvellous start to my career as the national team coach because it’s not often that Norway lose at home and it’s a long while that we’ve beaten [them] here so it’s nice to get the result.”

Ashley Young scored the only goal of the match after nine minutes with an individual effort culminating in a classy, low finish in the bottom corner of the Norway net.

“Well I think he and [Andy] Carroll proved they could do the job,” Hodgson continued. “I thought both of them were very good.

“I thought at times we could have been a bit more positive, you know, there’s an element of keeping the ball sometimes when we maybe could get it forwards a little bit earlier and get those two players in.

“But that’s what we’ve got to work on - we’ve started talking about it and sowing a few seeds but hopefully by the time the European Championships come around we’ll have done a lot more and be getting Ashley Young into positions more often like we got him in for the goal.”

The former West Brom and Liverpool boss refused to be drawn on the striking partnership that he would field for the Three Lions’ first Euro 2012 Group D fixture against France.

“Well, we’ll see,” he said, smiling when asked would he play Carroll and Young together on June 11. “Of course, I’m not prepared to say what the partnership is at this moment.

“We know it won’t be Wayne Rooney. We don’t know how Danny Welbeck is going to be coming on. We’ve still got Jermain Defoe.

“So in actual fact I think I’m in a comfortable position and even a guy like Theo Walcott can quite easily play in that position."