Hodgson finds positives in England’s uninspring 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 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 the national side has plenty more to give in upcoming internationals and stressed that a victory in Oslo is something to proud of.

“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.

“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 he would field for the Three Lions’ first Euro 2012 fixture against France.

“Well, we’ll see,” he said, smiling when asked would he play Carroll and Young together in a little over two weeks time. “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.”

England’s 23-man squad has been hit with a string of injuries that are causing frustration for the new manager. Scott Parker had ice on his right Achilles after coming off midway thought the second half, while Gareth Barry looked to have picked up a groin strain after coming on as a substitute at half-time.

Hodgson revealed: “Well I think Scott [Parker]’s been okay, we wanted to give him a bit longer than 45 minutes to test him out to see if he was going to get a reaction. At the moment there’s no reaction, we’ll find out maybe tomorrow.

“Gareth Barry worries me more, because he did feel his groin so we’ll have to get that scanned.

“We don’t have a lot of opportunities [and] we don’t have much time left and if it was a serious groin injury I dare say that could be something for me seriously to think about.”

Although England’s underwhelming display will not renew optimism in the national side just yet, Hodgson is hopeful he can mould a quality team out of the set of players at his disposal.

“I don’t think you lay foundations in three days,” he stated matter-of-factly.

“I hope that any foundations we lay will be done over the coming weeks and months.

“I just think it was a very positive start to my time as the national team coach because it’s a good result, it’s a good win and it keeps us all looking forward to the next game.”