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Rediff.com  » Sports » Unconvincing England give Hodgson winning start

Unconvincing England give Hodgson winning start

May 27, 2012 17:52 IST

Ashley Young's early goal earned England an unconvincing 1-0 friendly win over Norway is Oslo on Saturday in new manager Roy Hodgson's first match in charge.

England, plagued by injuries and without players from Champions League winners Chelsea, held on through a lacklustre second half for a morale-boosting win before next month's European Championship.

"I'm not prepared to be critical of the team and our play tonight, I'm also aware that it's very much work in progress but after three days with this team, I've got to be satisfied," Hodgson told reporters.

"With five missing from the squad and a couple of other injuries ... we had limits placed upon us," Hodgson said.

Liverpool striker Andy Carroll, set to fill Wayne Rooney's spot as he sits out the first two games of Euro 2012 through suspension, played well in partnership with Young who put England ahead with a well taken ninth-minute goal.

England dominated the first half but lost much of their cohesion after midfielder Scott Parker and captain Steven Gerrard were substituted.

Norway took advantage, testing England's back four, none of who may actually start in Poland and Ukraine.

"I thought we showed a lot of discipline and worked very hard (but) the fatigue factor did start to play a part," Hodgson said.

England's attack also struggled at times with a lack of firepower as Jermain Defoe and Rooney sat out the game with injuries, putting all the burden on Young and Carroll.

"I thought he (Carroll) was good. Full stop. Not only was he good for us when we had the ball... he was also very important to us defensively," Hodgson said.

England have a final warm-up game against Belgium next week before meeting France on June 11 in their Euro 2012 opener.

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