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Solid but unspectacular start for Hodgson's England

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Phil McNulty | 07:17 UK time, Sunday, 27 May 2012

In Oslo

Roy Hodgson's new England fitted perfectly into his "work in progress" framework after a start that was solid, unspectacular but with elements of genuine satisfaction.

Hodgson was at pains to paint the friendly in Norway as merely a preparation game for the forthcoming main event of Euro 2012 - but results on the board count and a 1-0 victory provided plenty of shields for Fabio Capello's successor.

He was able to take his flight back to London free from fears of hearing echoes of Bjorge Lillelien's famous - or infamous depending on your viewpoint and nationality - "your boys took a hell of a beating" commentary after Norway's win against England in September 1981.

And while readiness may have taken a higher priority than the result, Hodgson did not need to start his time in charge by becoming the first England manager to lose his opening game since Sir Alf Ramsey against France in 1963.

Roy Hodgson and Andy Carroll

Hodgson praised Carroll's performance in Oslo. Photo: Getty

Hodgson had a mere three days with England's players before his first friendly. This is a crash course in learning about his new charges with no time to waste, and a victory earned by Ashley Young's splendid early goal gave the 64-year-old more than enough food for thought to digest.

It also gave him a refresher in the hazards of international management and the danger of best-laid plans as Gareth Barry left Oslo fearing the worst about his Euro 2012 aspirations after suffering a groin injury that requires a scan.

The performance must first be placed in the context of the experimental side Hodgson fielded. It bore little resemblance to that which will line up against France in Donetsk on 11 June and yet it still gave England their first win against Norway for 32 years and inflicted a first home defeat in two years on Egil Olsen's side.

Hodgson described the performance as "more than reasonable". The reality was that it was mixed - understandably so given the nature of his selection and his determination to explore all options before that definitive choice against France.

And while there was almost a testimonial atmosphere about this friendly, played out in glorious Scandinavian evening sunshine with the daunting ski jumps rising in the distance behind the stadium, the notoriously studious Hodgson will have had plenty to fill his notebook.

With Wayne Rooney suspended and Danny Welbeck an injury doubt, Hodgson will have paid particular attention to the performance of Liverpool's £35m striker Andy Carroll.

He did not disappoint and linked well enough with matchwinner Young to suggest they can at least hold the fort until Rooney is released from the shackles of suspension for England's final group game against co-hosts Ukraine.

The pair combined for Young's winner, beautifully finished after Fulham's Brede Hangeland was embarrassed by sleight of foot. Carroll also used his giant frame in defence when England came under a degree of pressure in the second half.

Young is growing in international stature and his increasing comfort in an England jersey will have delighted Hodgson.

In other good news, Everton's Leighton Baines confirmed his status as a highly-accomplished deputy for Ashley Cole while his Goodison Park team-mate Phil Jagielka performed with such assurance alongside his old partner Joleon Lescott that he may yet make the plane to Krakow if Barry is declared unfit.

Hodgson was also able to introduce Arsenal teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for his England debut in the closing stages, a perfect way to start bedding this exciting talent into the international set up.

England inevitably lost rhythm in a rash of substitutions but there was enough evidence of the tactical discipline Hodgson will drive into them with his relentless training ground drills. He will not rest until the team is shaped, literally, to his satisfaction.

There was a return to orthodox 4-4-2 with Stewart Downing and James Milner on the flanks, although more will be expected of both if they are given another opportunity. Rooney's return may mean a rejig of the formation but this game will have at least confirmed in Hodgson's mind that he has other avenues to explore.

These are the plus points but Hodgson will have observed other evidence with concern. After surviving the powder-puff attacking intent of Norway, England suffered old failings in the second half.

Too often possession was conceded cheaply, with Barry being a culprit before his injury. Such generosity may be passed up by Norway but it might be a different matter if England present such gifts to France. Carelessness on such a scale will cost points at Euro 2012.

But Hodgson allowed himself a smile and wink as he departed his post-match inquisition. He admits he has no time to waste and the doubts about Welbeck and Barry only emphasise this with his final squad having to be handed in by midday on Tuesday.

The clock may be ticking towards Euro 2012 just a little too quickly for Hodgson's liking.

But he will see his England in action again, against Belgium at Wembley on Saturday, and at least the first steps on the journey have been concluded with a measure of satisfaction.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Mixed is the right word however despite the experimental nature of squad there can be no excuse for the performance in the second half. For long periods (untill 83rdminuteto be precise) I could not recall England stringing 5 passes together. This is likely to be punished against a better opposition. As I pointed out yesterday, after reading Henry Winter's article in DT that there was emphasis on playing the ball forward quickly, to be honest I feared this. We are talking here about experienced premier league players but none of those in defence or midfield were able to hold on to ball too long as afraid to touch a hot potato in case it burns their hand ( or feet I this case)

  • Comment number 2.

    Same old England, especially in the 2nd half. Devoid of any creativity whatsoever, posession conceded cheaply, desperate deep defending etc. The only player who showed any composure on the ball was Adam Johnson. Was only on the pitch 5 minutes and he isn't even going to the tournament! Young took his goal well but was generally anonymous otherwise. Carrol lacked variety in his movement and should have scored with his headed chance early on.

    I may go down the bookies and check the odds on us finishing bottom of our group, without scoring a goal.

  • Comment number 3.

    Dont think anyone was expecting a spectacular performance from the squad last night.

    Same old mistakes were made last night and when Milner and Barry were partnered in the middle we looked utterly clueless and classless, Hodgson cant seriously be thinking of playing these two alongside each other again.

    Was pleased with Oxlade-Chamberlain, everytime he recieved the ball he looked positive and turned towards goal to run. Hope we get to see more of him.

    All in all, we cant complain about the result and a good start for the new management.

    As you say Euro 2012 is comming fast for Hodgson and I hope he is not judged from the campaign. Euro 2012 has already been written off by myself as Hodgson wont be able to perform miracles with the same players who have been a let down for the last ten years still so prominent in the squad. Its a shame he did not have longer to mould his squad, given a gentle shove to the likes of Terry, Lampard and Gerrard to enable the far more exciting talent to emerge and build around for the future.

  • Comment number 4.

    Sorry but Carroll "did not disappoint" is laughable! He really wasn't all that, poor in the air, very little work rate and really wasn't the type of striker we needed to lead the attack.

    England have a lot of work to do even if they want to get out of the group stages of the Euro's, for one thing send Carroll home (at 23 he just isn't ready) and bring Rickie Lambert who can actually work for a team (or just cave to the media and bring the disappointed Holt/Hooper).

    Either way we were very average for 80 odd mins against a poor Norway, Belgium will be embarrassing.

  • Comment number 5.

    Everyone else looking forward to a championship of mind numbingly football from England with a well drilled defence, long balls and about 30% possession then? In all fairness with the lack of flair and creativity in the England side this is the only chance we have of winning anything and I suppose I will cheer with everyone else if we grind our way out of the group stage - still can't help feel a little depressed about how uninsiring this current England team is with or without Rooney!

  • Comment number 6.

    Solid ? It was anything but. Unspectacular. Definitely.

    I'll be supporting England as much as I can, but this performance was dire. The only one's who came out of it with any credit were Baines, Lescott & Jagielka.
    Robert Green proves once again that he is a liability at the highest level. Why can't England learn from past mistakes ?
    "Hollywood" Gerrard was abysmal. Downing..I have no words for. Who will say Jones is a better right back than Richards after that display ?
    If it wasn't for some comical defending by Hangeland, it would have been a complete embarrassment.
    No realistic chance of winning the Euro's.

  • Comment number 7.

    for the first half an hour or so England looked good however after that it as Phil rightly points out it was same old England in my opinion Barry should not make the squad but considering his replacement is likely to be Henderson I hope he does recover from his injury I'm also still mystified to as why downing gets anywhere near the squad he was far from at least solid last night (bar the cross for the first Carroll chance) and showed all the reasons why he has 0 goals and 0 assists in the league this season, Joe Cole would of been a much better choice

  • Comment number 8.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 9.

    The B team did OK let's reserve judgment as a gesture of inevitably finite hope

    Meanwhile there were embarrassing scenes at eurovision last night as John Terry dressed up in swedish national dress to celebrate with the winner

  • Comment number 10.

    Solid but unspectacular start. Best player on the night was Jagielka for me, so dissappointed we may take Jones instead who looked like he couldn't find a player in his team with a pass. A real shame that Adam Johnson doesn't play for Man City as I think he would otherwise be one of the first names on the team sheet. More technically gifted that Downing and just a better all round player. Should be in the squad. Am I the only one who has no idea why Milner is anywhere near the squad?
    Difficult game for Roy after three days with the players. I'm still disappointed that Redknapp didn't get the nod but lets be fair to the chap now he's in the job.
    I think the pleasing thing is that there is a real sense of realism about this tournament for England compared to previous years. Past failures, a sub standard manager and squad have dampened the appetite.
    We have a few half decent players but I do think we will be lucky to make it out of the group.

  • Comment number 11.

    Sorry, but if its a friendly, Hodgson should have left out people like Gerrard etc etc and brought in some REAL change, rather than, as usual, running scared of the poison chalice and hoping to squeak a result. The result is meaningless, but i saw no suggestion of bright future here, individually or in groups, with the mid-field never secured, abysmal pass completion, poor goalkeeping and lacklustre all round. We already know how most of them play.....why on earth not bring in more new people, truly new people to try things unashamedly, and tell the press youre doing it first.? There are so few chances to blood new ways and people...why give Ox such a short time? who cares about the result?? oh, Hodgson keep at bay the doubters. Get some spine Roy. Youve got it all there to work on.We will be with you, just get rid of the same-old same-old please.

  • Comment number 12.

    6.At 08:56 27th May 2012, fatClyde wrote:
    Solid ? It was anything but. Unspectacular. Definitely.

    I'll be supporting England as much as I can, but this performance was dire. The only one's who came out of it with any credit were Baines, Lescott & Jagielka.
    Robert Green proves once again that he is a liability at the highest level. Why can't England learn from past mistakes ?

    It's a shame that corner hit the near post. If it had crept in I don't think Green would have ever played for England again.

  • Comment number 13.

    We don't keep the ball when pressurised by the opposition, this became apparent again last evening. I don't blame Roy, who is missing that if fit & any better than what we have. ITV tried talking certain players up but in the end we have to take players like Milner, Parker and Downing who have provided little to nothing all season or, in Parker's case, are clearly not fit.

    We won't win it, least we know it for once and won't get carried away.

    By the way I thought Gerrard's challenge was reckless for a friendly, I know the media love him but had he been on the receiving end of that sort of tackle we wouldn't hear the end of it. I have watched Gerrard a number of times this season and sadly he is past it, shame but his performances do not warrant the captions armband.

    Totally agree with the comment about Phil Jones, he is not a great centre half-he is an even worse right back. Phil's blog a while back predicting him to be the greatest player ever after 3 games for Utd is looking about as accurate as Lawro's Liverpool results predictions last season.

  • Comment number 14.

    I certainly didn't think they were solid, never really looked comfortable after scoring early on..

    What I cant understand is why Roy played so many second-string players; Milner is in the squad as a versatile sub, so why is he starting when there are three good candidates for the right wing position? Same goes for Green, Baines, Jagielka and Downing; they wont be starting at the Euros so why play them now? This match and Belgium should be used to play the best players in the system he wants to be ready for the tournament, instead we're giving run outs for players (Johnson and Kelly) that aren't even going to Poland/Ukraine!?

  • Comment number 15.

    Here we go again.... unnecessary over-analysis based on one 90 minute game of football - a friendly, with a largely second-string side - as though it was some sort of important 'verdict' delivered by those 'in the know'.

    England won, in a friendly, away to Norway and yet the doom merchants (like peterparker78) are crawling out of the woodwork already.

    I'm not saying Hodgson and England will be a success. The 'reality' is, that no-one knows yet, and certainly not based on the events of yesterday, or even if England fail at Euro 2012.

  • Comment number 16.

    Not a good performance at all last night, once Norway settled down a bit we just lost any composure on the ball. Almost every player last night was average apart from Young, who was the only person who looked capable of making something happen when he got the ball. Steven Gerrard showed he shouldn't be in the team, attempts too many long passes (you can't do that against a good team because when it's misplaced you don't see the ball again for ten minutes) and generally showing he's lacking the legs to drive the midfield like he used to. Also annoyed me how the commentators drool over him, ie he makes a 4 yard pass and it's awesome and when he misplaces a pass it's no big deal. I think I'd rather see Lampard in his position.

    But on the plus side defensively we looked quite sound (even though Jones gave the ball away an alarming number of times) and so if nothing else we should be hard to beat. But I'm still not backing us to get out of the group.

  • Comment number 17.

    The reason England were poor in the second half was the personal on the pitch.

    How many of the players on the pitch in the second half will we see against France?

    Milner and perhaps Walcott.

    This was an experimental game, after taking the lead Hogson could reshuffle the pack, see what worked and what didn't.

    The first 30 minutes worked, the rest didn't. But progress can be made

  • Comment number 18.

    @15 well said fella! you've saved me writing a post that would be largely the same.

    Germany lost 5-3 to the swiss last night. We won and we still moan!

  • Comment number 19.

    I dont care too much about the performance as such, simply because that team only had about 4 people who will be in the actual first team come the France game.

    What did chill my bones however was the post match interview when Hodgson complained that the team tried to pass the ball around too much instead of lumping it forward to Carroll.

  • Comment number 20.

    For 20 mins it worked..... then it was poor. Carroll and Young started lively Carroll was just a statue presenting a target but given no support. Jones looked lost at right back, if Johnson goes down you can forget it. Walcott is useless, i'd rather Downing start over him which really says all you need to know as he is terrible as well.

    Only bright spots were the reserve left back and the centre half not even in the main squad. That and Barry going down, get on the phone to Scholes or Carrick to at least provide some direction in midfield.

  • Comment number 21.

    Very early days so very little analysis you can get from one game, but I would say that it looks positive that Roy is making the team 'structured and tough to break down', as that is what we will need to get out of a tough group. I'm not saying I recommend route one football on the ball, but it is important we have structure off it.

    On route one football- I think Gerrard is one of the worst culprits in the England squad for 'long ball football'. I find it frustrating that every time he picks the ball up, his eyes automatically look long. While one in a few does admittedly end up being a great pass, the vast majority concede possession in an easy fashion and result in us constantly defending. I know we shouldn't set up like Spain, as we don't have the players for it and would get beaten badly, but I do think we should have a little more to us then pump it long aka Gerrard (mostly), Milner, Barry. Johnson offers something different, shame he isn't going.

  • Comment number 22.

    I would love to know how progress will be made when we bring in a first team of slower, older players ?
    Did you see Carroll turn John Terry in the FA Cup ? It was like Ashley Young bamboozling Hangeland from 15 yards away...LOL.
    The only improvement, albeit a big one, will be in goal when Hart gets back between the sticks.
    Saying last nights 11 were the "B" team fills me with ZERO confidence that the "A" team is any better.
    Walcott does what he does..Runs really, really fast. Sometimes he even takes the ball with him.
    Ashley Cole isn't a huge step up from Baines, and Baines takes a better free kick. Something we need.
    Young does look a genuine threat but he can be anonymous in a lot of games.
    Parker is injured. Very unfortunate as he's miles better than Barry.
    So explain where this improvement is going to come from ?

  • Comment number 23.

    Why on Earth would Hodgson leave Gerrard out? Considering he is the captain then obviously he will play every game. No point in putting someone else in his place who wont actually get a game.

  • Comment number 24.

    Forget the comments that this is the same old England side & performance. It's the same old negativity from the fans & media that I'm fed up with. It's as if half the people out there are willing Hodgson to fail. Course the performance wasn't spectacular, it's a preparatory match just to give everyone a run out before the championship. Were people really expecting us to go out & win 5-0 or something?

    We inflicted Norway's first home defeat on them for 2 years, on a day when Germany were beaten 5-3 by the mighty Swiss and Holland lost 2-1 at home to Bulgaria. Put into that context is there really any need to be negative about last night?

    As for the Euros, are people honestly expecting us to win it? We're not good enough, we don't have the players right now no matter who's in charge. Given time hopefully Hodgson can gel a good team together ready for the next world cup but without the players there's only so much a coach can do. If we don't get out the group then we don't, it's a tough group! I for one would just rather see a bit more realism from people though & where there are positives to focus on them.

    I know what am I saying, this is England I'm talking about, when it comes to this team there's been no realism from the fans for about 15 years!

  • Comment number 25.

    its a bit worrying when we only just beat norway 1-0, I know a lot of people say, Hodgson's new, squad in transition blah blah, but these are premier league players, they dont have a system shutdown when a new manager comes in and forget how to play the game.
    Young was pretty good, trying to make things happen, Carroll was average, Milner should keep in the centre as he has little pace, Downing was pretty ineffective, would much rather have seen Oxlade-Chamberlain given more time, and Walcott doesn't really look the same player for England as he does for Arsenal. Be more aggressive! Our team needs to take chances! Not just float aimless balls into the box. USA beat Scotland 5-1 yesterday, who would realistically expect England to achieve a similar scoreline if we played them. We need to play the younger talent and be more bold against weak opposition, or we're gonna end up drawing our group games just like in South Africa

  • Comment number 26.

    @lee fett

    Realism is negativity. I totally agree. England do not have the talent to win anything. That's the reason for the negative complaints. Why pretend ?

  • Comment number 27.

    I essentially saw the problem in that after Gerrad's tackle, he lost composure (rightly so, it was horrible) and seeing as he was the only one able to keep the ball (bar the few inevitable misplaced lumps forward), the midfield just stopped being there. I'd agree he's "past" his best, but he did keep the ball on the ground a few times, and his presence was felt by the oposition. I'm not sure what other choices do England have - it surely would be worth it trying Lampard there against Belgium, but otherwise, he has to play. One armchair note: perhaps it would have been good to have Carrick there, but what's done is done.

    I am at loss regarding the criticism of Carroll. He's no world-beater, but he's won just about every single header, never misplaced a pass, helped clear set-pieces, never fouled anyone, kept his composure, while no doubt under mental pressure, at the age of 23, and people are calling for him to stay at home? Seriously? Because he didn't score a diving header with a defender lying on him?

    The team will only get better. They do have a chance to progress from the group and maybe cause an upset or two. But even if they win the Euros (for which they have reasonably about as much hope as any other average team there, i.e. not much), it will not be enough for some fans. What, we scraped a 1-0 against France? If I was the coach, we'd have won 8-0!

  • Comment number 28.

    @6 "Robert Green proves once again that he is a liability at the highest level. Why can't England learn from past mistakes ?"

    Umm, he didn't concede, collected (almost) every cross/corner with authority and didn't make any howlers. For a guy who is our back-up option (and will be for the rest of his career, as Hart ain't going nowhere in the England set-up) he did just fine. A better option than any of the other English keepers at this moment in time.

    As for the match. It was an uninspiring performance sure. But there were positives to look at, which is all you want and can reasonably expect from a friendly, and Hodgson's first game in charge with so little time. Here's a few of my thoughts- The

    Ox looked strong and hungry.

    Carroll haters won't be turned on this performance, but the fact of the matter is that he linked well with Young, made some good attacking plays and was very helpful when called on to defend. He isn't Rooney, but he merits being taken.

    Downing was Downing. 'Nuff said. Adam Johnson looked better when he came on for like, 30 seconds.

    Jones is one for the future, but Richards omission this time round is unjustifiable, just like Glen Johnson's addition.

    Finally, I thought Jagielka and Lescott proved themselves against Spain before. They were flawless again tonight. They might not be the strongest choices individually, but when they reunite their Everton partnership they are fantastic and very solid. For me, men of the match behind Young last night. Starters for Euro 2012

  • Comment number 29.

    I have not read the Sun this morning, so can someone let me know if we are going to win the Euro's after this result, or should Roy be sent packing ?

  • Comment number 30.

    Typical England fans. Jones has one bad game and he should be beheaded and fed to the Corgies. Get a grip. He is a top player at RB, CB or DMF and is vital for England. I think he is the long term replacement for some players who have disappointed for too long.

  • Comment number 31.

    I don't care if we finish bottom of the group by 100 goals or get to the quarter-finals. I would just like to see some attempt at attractive, technical football played with pride for our country. It breaks my heart to see the style of football played, but I doubt it will change anytime soon. Ho hum.

  • Comment number 32.

    I don't agree that being realistic is being negative. Accepting that we're not as good as the likes of Spain & Holland isn't negative it's fact surely. Coming on here & being critical of a team (half of whom won't be playing at the Euros) for winning a friendly is what I would call negativity.

  • Comment number 33.

    Hodgson picked the same old players and has got the same old performance.

  • Comment number 34.

    Grant Holt would have scored that!! Yep we lacked a decent striker last night.

  • Comment number 35.

    Just watched the game, taped it last night and was right to do so. Eurovision was far more exciting than the dross I have just watched. At least I could fast forward the nonsense from the ITV sports pundits. England were about as good as the 'Hump' and he finished second to last. Not being negative, I'm just sick of the same old, same old served up by my national team. We will be lucky to get a point in the group games.

  • Comment number 36.

    @lee fett


    Ok maybe we don't have the talent to beat Spain or Holland, but surely we have the talent to give a more confident performance against Norway than that! I mean look at France. They were in all sorts of trouble after the 2010 World Cup, but we played them soon after, and got played off the park, absolutely dominated. Time is important I know, but I just think we must be doing things in the wrong sort of philosophy, we were riding our luck last night, and no disrespect to Norway, but there aren't many lesser minnow clubs in Europe unless you wanna start playing the Andorra's or the Luxembourg's. I just fear that we're gonna be stuck with this wrong mentality now until post 2014 World Cup, and possibly longer. We might not have championship winning talent, but England players must have some talent nonetheless.

  • Comment number 37.

    Haha #29, can someone tell us which snide method of insult they've used for him today as well please, have they moved on from making fun of the way he talks yet? If Harry's such a good motivator & everyone listens to him why can't he get the Sun "writers" together & tell them to give Hodgson a fair crack?!

  • Comment number 38.

    I'm not even going to comment on the game as all the resident experts have already given it the doom and gloom from one friendly that is Hodgsons first game in charge with no preparation time at all!

    Get a grip people.

  • Comment number 39.

    Last nights team or tactics little resemble what will happen at the Euro championships. Hodgson is looking at other options, that's all, & already has his first team line up sorted. He will have problems as we lack the strength in depth in several areas, not least in front of goal. I doubt if he will rely on Carroll as our loan striker until Rooney can play. But who will he pick instead? Difficult decisions ahead but I beleive he is the right man for the job.

  • Comment number 40.

    I'd rather we win games 1-0 instead of trying to play like Spain and end up losing.

    It is like the Chelsea style of play in the Champions League. We can't play Spain at their own game, we are not good enough. So catching an odd goal and then closing the game out and ultimately win games, which is the whole point.

    Glad to see Young score a goal without diving but Carroll seemed to get frustrated in the second half without getting any service.

    Gerrard didn't seem to be as effective as he normally is when it comes to internationals.

    The Ox is certainly a prospect for the future and it was a shame he didn't convert his chance when he first came on.

    Walcott is just a runner. But would certainly use him more than any other.

    Downing did but in some descent crosses but largely went unnoticable as they weren't put away by Carroll.

    Rob Green restored confidence as our No 2 keeper.

    All in all, our 2nd rate team managed to record a 1-0 win against Norway who we haven't beaten for 32 years and on their own turf.

  • Comment number 41.

    Time for a BIG


  • Comment number 42.

    NizRas makes a great AND valid point.
    If we are not good enough to win then what is stopping England from at least attempting to play some that resembles attractive, technical football ? There are players who can hold a ball longer than 2 seconds.

    @ MurphysLaw
    Green moved off his line prior to a corner being taken and was within a gnats whisker of letting a goal in direct from the corner. Clearly you don't know that one of the basic goalkeeping rules that you are taught at the age of 5 is don't move off your line until the corner is taken. It's a schoolboy error. He also flapped at a couple of crosses later on.

  • Comment number 43.

    "Hodgson picked the same old players and has got the same old performance."

    Andy Carroll
    Ashley Young
    Rob Green
    Phil Jagielka
    Leighton Baines
    Stewart Downing

    How are these considered the same old players? Considering most have been promoted from the U21 squad or not played in a long time.

    Also wouldn't the same old score actually be considered a loss for England?

  • Comment number 44.

    Can anyone point to the last international Gerrard played well in, as I would seriously contemplate dropping him. His passing was atrocious yesterday, hardly made a decent pass the whole match and his tackle would have been a straight red in any competitive match. Also, the cheek of the commentators to say it was a decent tackle, when the guy went off injured as a result was stupid, as this exhibited why those kinds of challenges are not allowed anymore. There weren't many great performers in the middle yesterday, but Parker was good and Milner played OK. I'd happily have those two with Lampard, who has still got it as was seen by the FA cup and CL performances, than playing Gerrard who is completely past it.

  • Comment number 45.

    Maybe I'm wrong here, but I would have thought a friendly is the time to play with abandon, try new things etc etc when there is no real pressure to win. It is painful to watch players who are paid huge sums of money making basic, schoolboy errors. Not being able to hold onto the ball, not being able to pass to a team mate, no movement, no skill, no guile. You could see Gerrard at one point throw his arms up in despair because there was no one making a move so he could pass. Milner was awful, Jones was like a scared rabbit. After making a reasonable start we just went into our shells. A decent team would have gained confidence from a goal after 9 minutes and would have gone on to dominate the game. We went back to our usual brand of clueless League 1 standard football.

  • Comment number 46.

    At 09:31 27th May 2012, fatClyde wrote:
    @lee fett
    Realism is negativity. I totally agree. England do not have the talent to win anything. That's the reason for the negative complaints. Why pretend ?

    I disagree, being realistic and being negative are two completely different things. Realistically, we are in a hard group, do not have the best squad and I do not expect us to win the thing. But there are still some positives to take from last night bearing in mind that is Roy's first game in charge after 3 days with the players and missing a few too.

    I don't know this for a fact, but I bet the Norweigen fans aren't being overly negative towards the Norweigen team this morning- because they are realistic.

  • Comment number 47.

    why wasn't Humperdink sent of ? disgraceful display if you ask me.

  • Comment number 48.

    Can anyone point to the last international Gerrard played well in, as I would seriously contemplate dropping him. His passing was atrocious yesterday, hardly made a decent pass the whole match and his tackle would have been a straight red in any competitive match. Also, the cheek of the commentators to say it was a decent tackle, when the guy went off injured as a result was stupid, as this exhibited why those kinds of challenges are not allowed anymore. There weren't many great performers in the middle yesterday, but Parker was good and Milner played OK. I'd happily have those two with Lampard, who has still got it as was seen by the FA cup and CL performances, than playing Gerrard who is completely past it.


    I would say the game against the USA in the World Cup when he scored our only goal.

    And it was a descent a tackle considering the managed to get the ball first.

  • Comment number 49.

    @36 Norway are top of the second-tier European teams that usually end up within a shout of qualifying for major tournaments. There is a score of worse teams in Europe, and we're not talking about the Andorras (Austria, Hungary, Macedonia, Georgia, Latvia, Finnland...). Beating them is nothing fantastic, but it is a good result. The players do have a long season with a lot of drama behind them, and at an early 1-0 up away, you do tend to lose urgency. Still they stayed in formation and it saw them through well. Not losing concentration in defense is always good.

    Why not enjoy the fact that the team is even playing at the Euros? Participating is fun? I'm sure Norway would love to be there.

  • Comment number 50.

    "Can anyone point to the last international Gerrard played well in"

    *LFC Fan Mode*

    EVERYGAME EERRRRR!!!!!!!!!!! FACT ( Net Spend)

  • Comment number 51.

    @42 -> I take your point about coming off the line, it's a rookie error for Green, but I did say he collected "(almost)" every corner/cross. He did indeed flap at a few towards the end.

    I just think he did perfectly well for a back-up keeper.

    Also, I'm with MightMillers on the point that I'd rather see us play solid football rather than trying to outplay Spain and the likes. As an Arsenal fan, I've seen us try and outplay Barca, it didn't work (apart from that lucky win of ours.) Chelsea had the right idea for a knockout tournament.

    After Euro 2012, we can look at playing attractive football, but for this one, I'll be happy with some wins on the board and a respectable finish in the competition.

  • Comment number 52.

    Hodgson is in a no-win situation. Sadly, that's exactly what England will get: no wins. The squad is seriously flawed (Terry, Milner, Downing, Gerrard... has Uncle Roy watched any football this season??). Your best bet as an England fan? Let go of all expectations, it's the only way to avoid disappointment.
    Come August it will be Redknapp for England, and Capello for Spurs - remember where you read it first.

  • Comment number 53.

    England have no chance at the euros, simple as that! Will be lucky to get out of the group stages. Rooney and Hart apart, no top class players.

  • Comment number 54.

    Ok, lets be realistic instead of negative. We will lose to France, we will lose to Ukraine and we will scrape a draw with Sweden. 1 point to us and a trip home, the usual wailing and gnashing of teeth, blah, blah, blah. It is just so depressingly inevitable. I have watched England since the 66 final, it's been an exhausting trip downhill ever since.

  • Comment number 55.

    Andy Carroll, lol!

  • Comment number 56.

    Iam not sure why people were expecting "amazing" things, the team has underperformed for at least the last 7 years, so to expect a massive change in under a month from Roy Hodgeson is madness.

    The best we can look forward to is that we get out of the group stages and into the quarters.

    The public seem to have a huge expectations based on a good team, but good is not good enough to win tournaments these days.

    Can we not all just get behind the team and not apply the pressures to a single player or expect nothing more than they play their best what ever the result.

    That way the media may back off a little ( yeah right!), and concentrate on their positives rather than their negatives ( yeah right!).

    For me I am proud that we are playing in the Euros and just hope that the players are settled and play with passion, then we can build on being the best over the next few years rather than right now

    Flame away :)

  • Comment number 57.

    God some of you posters are pathetic! Talk about whinging poms! If you've not got something positive to say (or at least not doom, doom and thrice doom) then at least have the grace to keep your boring opinions to yourselves.
    A) It's a win in a "meaningless" international friendly.
    B) The words "warm up match" mean just that. The manager needs to find his players skills & talents (if any, let's be fair) and how to best utilise them. He especially needs to know how the "second string" work. Job done.
    C) If we'd lost would the footballing world have stopped turning?
    D) What is this morning's reaction in Germany or Holland? I wonder if the press comments pages are covered in posts similar to at least half of those above?

    Get a grip people. Be thankful for a win (even if it doesn't really matter or wasn't the most scintillating match in history). Back the team & manager instead of hoping we lose so that you can go down the pub & say "I told you so" and have everyone think "what a wazzock" about you.

    Don't expect to win the Euros, but if we do win it playing like Greece (or dare I say it Chelsea) be very, very grateful. (If we do win it playing like that I wonder how many of the above posers will be back saying "I always knew we'd come through".

  • Comment number 58.

    Same old problems with England. The first 30 mins aside, not enough composure in posession. It all stems from poor movement off the the ball. Too often we saw the player in posession left isolated, with no teammates moving towards them to give them the easy option. Consequently,they end up having to play low percentage passes or run the ball down dead-ends, which as we saw, means giving the ball away often. We really need to learn to keep hold of posession, and it's not about technique as so many people like to claim, its about coaching a system of play and the players showing a little more tactical awareness. Some of them seem to think that running away from the guy in posession is what making runs and moving into space means. It isn't.

  • Comment number 59.

    I think we will lose to France, maybe draw against Sweden and we could scrape a win against Ukraine (although that will be difficult)

    Ultimately, if we do go through we are likely to face Spain or Italy. So it's a case of going as far as we can with it.

    Way I see it though, no-one and the beginning of last season would have expected Chelsea to win the Champions League. So England can have the same chances with a little bit of luck and no new injuries.

  • Comment number 60.

    Where were the England team after the break?
    For the last 45 minutes it was an embarrassment to watch,I thought that Andy Carrol was a forward,not a central defender,once again we saw a mediocre performance from a mediocre team.

  • Comment number 61.

    Typical. Deluded England fans who have this farfetched idea that they deserve to be the best team on the planet. No matter who manages, you tend not to support them and instead critisice everything about them.
    I will never understand why many of you think that way because the team is overhyped to a quite laughable point and the players just aren't good enough. A big tournament comes around and all of a sudden, the media start the nonsensical analysis and hyping.
    This is pointless because an excuse must be found after the disappointment. Yet it continues.
    Firstly, Roy Hodgson had 3 days with the players. A mere 3 days with such a selection of massive egos is going to be difficult.
    Secondly, the excuse must be found...
    Had England hammered Norway 5-0, the media would have continued the hype and fans would have had false hope when in reality, it was Norway they beat. Had England got beaten then such excuses would have started pouring out about how it was an experimental game and how the youngsters showed they do have talent but still have some learning to do. Or Roy would be criticised. Or both.
    England actually win 1-0 with some useless players and with players who have been with the manager for 3 days and the fans aren't happy with anything and don't support the team and management just weeks before they go to a big tournament.
    You cause the problem for yourselves...

  • Comment number 62.

    It was a typical English performance. Dire, boring, uninspiring and laborious. We have zero creativity and flair and I still don't think we'll make it out the group in the Euros.

  • Comment number 63.

    Solid performance from the 3 felines!

    Euros are in the bag no problem, can't see anything other than a semi when it comes to England.

    Carroll was a monster! His presence alone will tremble the nerves of all the top defenders he will face all the way through to the final. No need for Wayne this time.

  • Comment number 64.

    I am realistic and know we do not have a good enough team to win anything. But what I would like to see is the best possible collective England team on the pitch, so we can be proud to say we did our best. Sadly, with players like Gerrard, Milner, Downing, Henderson (!), Carroll, Green, this just isn't the case. Shame Carrick felt the need to withdraw, 4 PL titles and the CL in the past 6 seasons for him, how has he never been recognised as the player England needs.

    Another point, I think a total of 5 Liverpool players turned out last night. Why!? They just finished 8th in the Premier League and I don't think anyone would disagree that with the players they have that they're worth a higher finish. So why has Hodgson picked so many of them? Not to mention the fact that they pulled the trigger on him after only 6 months. Mediocre.

  • Comment number 65.

    Never mind whether it was the A or B team, we all saw the strategy last night that's going to be followed for the tournament, and bringing Rooney back won't change it - Young could have played whatever alternative role Roy might have been holding back for Rooney.

    4-4-2. A system the players don't play at club level, and that doesn't work at international level. But with a twist... Both central midfielders playing as defensive cover to allow the wingers to stay in advanced positions. So... 6 defending the 18 yard line, 4 in attack, and NOBODY in midfield!!

    The problem was obvious the first time Gerrard looked up from his deep role hoping to play a pass into midfield, only to see the tiny figures of Carroll and Young way off in the distance. So now we know, we're gonna play the tournament without the ball, no attempt made to play fluent, intelligent, creative football. Just hoof it up to the big guy, or out to the wingers, and wait for the cross/link-up between two strikers (or in 95% of cases, lose possession straight away). Yawwwnnn.

  • Comment number 66.

    It amazes me the number of people on here who have such a warped view of yesterdays game and can't accept players they like/don't like played good/bad. Plus you all just whinge about England, follow another country then! You can't predict the future so just support the team or don't, then bask in your arrogant "I told you so" sunshine if they do in fact do bad at the Euros.

  • Comment number 67.

    It was an extremely dull, defensive performance. What worried me is that Roy had set up the team to play defensively against opposition far lower in standard man for man. It was frustrating to watch as experienced players hoofed the ball up the park in hope that Carroll will score. I know the team wasn't our strongest and was experimental, but I was frustrated even before the game at the team lie up. With Downing and Milner on the wings I already knew that it was going to be an average performance because they are average players. Ashley Young was the Top scorer Domestically in the England starting line up, in fact i think he has more goals than our front three yesterday.

  • Comment number 68.

    Ok, let's not be negative (realistic), let's be delusional. England to finish top of their group with some scintillating football, breeze through the quarters, tough but composed victory in the semis and then a masterclass of football in final to win 6 - 0. Rooney and Carroll share the golden boot and Roy is knighted. Ah, that's better! Oh bugger, work tomorrow, back to reality.

  • Comment number 69.

    "Shame Carrick felt the need to withdraw, 4 PL titles and the CL in the past 6 seasons for him, how has he never been recognised as the player England needs"

    Because he got the face on and withdrew from England duty on the basis that he felt he was the best above others and not getting picked.

    I wouldn't want him in the team with that attitude.

    And again, despite a number of Liverpool players on last night, this was our B team and won't reflect what will be picked for the France game.

    The only 2 I can see making the first team are Gerrard and Carroll (until Rooney returns).

  • Comment number 70.

    Michael Carrick anyone? Too late now unfortunately.

  • Comment number 71.

    Following on from my pre match post, England need to play to Carrolls strengths.

    England did not provide any quality service/possession down the flanks. Milner was 'Missing In Action' and looked like he had forgotten how to play football and Jones just looked very very 'tired' after a long season. England really do miss the Beckham/Neville combination down the right flank.

    Downing has totally lost his confidence and the England fans really need to get behind him and give him the support he desperately needs. Baines is a solid defender but England need to see him attacking more and whipping in the crosses which he is brilliant at doing for Everton.

    I would have liked to have seen Johnson and OC start the game. They looked very promising when they came on and deserve another chance.

    Overall. I thought Carroll had a fair game. He suffered from poor service during the match, but was a good target man and did hold on to the ball and bring other players in to the game on several occassions. He also put himself about the pitch when not in possession. I believe Johnson and OC would have provided better service than Milner & Downing.

    Can we also have a sensible debate about Gerrards 'Hollywood' passes. What exactly do you want the lad to do to start an attack on the opposition?

    If you freeze the game when Gerrard gets possession, who exactly should he pass it to? There is a huge gap between the attack and midfield.....therefore we have the Hollywood pass. England need a player (Rooney is very good at this) to get between the lines of the opposition midfield/defence and demand the ball to start a new phase of attack.

    England do not appear to have the quality/skills to break down the opposition when they get all their players behind the ball. England do not have a Gascoigne?Wiltshire to do a shimmy or trick through the opposition midfield.

    In summary,
    - England at the moment do not have the right players/combinations on the wings to attack the opposition, (A. Johnson & OC excluded),
    - England are not able to break down the opposition when they get all their players behind the ball
    - England do not have a Player/Rooney to sit between the opposition defence/midfield to collect short passes.

    Therefore the only strategy left appears to be to play a bit like Chelsea in the Champions League with Gerrard playing 'quarterback' firing his long range passes to the nearest attacker.

    This strategy only works if the oppostion does not score first.

    We can progress and do well ....with a bit of luck!

  • Comment number 72.

    Once again I was bored while watching an England international. Much respect for Hodgson and fair enough this was a Friendly and he is getting to grips still. But I wonder if it will be anymore exciting against Belgium or France. I hope so.

  • Comment number 73.

    What a load of rubbish!! Desperately poor from a bunch of plodders.

    Slow, predictable and lacking any creativity. But what do you expect since we have selected a whole load of players who aren't good enough for their cub teams.

    Downing, Carroll, Milner, Defoe haven't played any games this season. After Rooney, Lampard is probably the next highest scorer.

    Jones and Glen Johnson are hopeless..... what is Johnson going to do if we have to defend for long periods. Micah Richards would have been a much better choice.

    Gerrard has spent a large part of the season injured and is past his sell by date. The midfield will be slow and ponderous when we need speed and inventiveness. It might be a result that Barry is injured and will miss the tournament.

    and don't get me started on Robert Green!!

    It is pointless playing friendlies as we don't seem to learn from them or give anyone young and exciting a try (Chamberlain excepted) which is what I thought friendlies are for.

    Same old faces, picked on reputation!!

    I am not going to bother watching and wasting 2hrs of my life each matchday.

    Roy, was this really the best squad you could have picked?..... they're not really the 23 best English players players we've got.

  • Comment number 74.

    It's not whinging or being delusional. All most England fans want is their team to, at the very least, play a competent , stylish, possession based brand of football. You know, like most other international teams do ?
    All we seem to ever get is an England team that plays like a mid-table prem team. I can't fathom that nobody has twigged that EPL style kick and rush just doesn't cut it at international level.
    I'll be cheering the team on at the Euro's and if we win like Chelsea, great. I won't be complaining but these forums are here for people to express their views, no matter what they may be.

  • Comment number 75.

    It was a dull game but we won, but watching last nights match was just like watching Capello's England, Roy needs to be bold, remember at Italia 1990 when Sir Bob changed Englands formation to a 3 - 5 - 2? That is what is needed now the players in this squad would be better suited to this. Hart, with Cahill and Lescott at centre back, and Jones sweeping, Johnson and Cole as wing backs offering the width, a solid central 3 of Gerrard, Lampard and Parker (they remain our best 3 midfielders) with Carroll and Young up front, would like to have had a Rodwell or a Huddlestone bringing some youth to the midfield but thay are not fit, Rooney would replace Carroll once he is available, unless of course Carroll has scored in both games!!

  • Comment number 76.

    After the reaction to Hodgson's appointment I suggested that he was 'dead man walking' from the word go. Then he goes and makes Gerrard captain, a player who should no longer be on the pitch for Engalnd.

    Surely there are enough people waiting to hammer nails into Roy's coffin without him doing the job himself?

  • Comment number 77.

    Lots of comments saying that the performance was important but the result was not.
    I disagree, I think both performance and result are equally important. Can you imagine the media furore if Roy Hodgson had lost his first game to Norway! Its important for him to get a couple of wins under his belt before the Euros, regardless of who they are against.

  • Comment number 78.

    New England set-up, same old problem - nobody in the England team comes short to meet the ball, particularly in midfield where it is vital to do so! If we can't sort this basic error out, we'll never realise the potential of a lot of our talented players and we'll certainly not be winning any tournaments. I can't think of ANY other team in world football at any level that I have seen, that present themselves for a short pass less than England do. And the weird thing is that these players often do it for their clubs, but not for England! Of course we're going to lose the ball if nobody comes short and shows for it in midfield, as there becomes a large gap between our defensive midfielder and the rest of the midfield/strikers and he ends up having to play a really tough long ball which is inevitably cut out. It's crazy how when we get hold of the ball, we suddenly have 5 players sprinting forward and not thinking about helping out the player with the ball by providing an option - perhaps everyone just wants a piece of glory for scoring a goal and forgets that the ball actually has to come forward first!

    As for the overall performance, it was incredibly disappointing, but I realise we need to put it into perspective that it was only a friendly with a weakened side. My worry though is that Roy will consider a lot of these players first choice! Downing, Henderson, Milner, Barry, Green should not be anywhere NEAR the squad. Gerrard is past his best, Carroll did ok but not enough to persuade me he should start ahead of Welbeck, and Jones had an absolute shocker. I thought Young and Parker played well, and they are two players I WOULD start for England. The rest of the back 4 also gave a good account of themselves, but they should never have been tested so much if our midfield played properly.

    So after yesterday's match I can honestly say that only 3 players from the starting squad would start against France if I was England manager. My team would be:

    Jones Terry Cahill Cole
    Parker Lampard
    Walcott Ox Young

    But I would also rather put in Richards, Scholes, Carrick, Lennon, Rio, Adam Johnson - if they were even in the squad! And obviously Rooney after his ban. (NB Jones had a shocker yesterday but he's normally much better for that - when he has midfielders that show for the ball so he can make a pass! I'd still give him a chance ahead of Johnson who I really don't rate)

    My hopes for the Euros remain high - what is hope except something that makes your expectations higher? However my realism makes me think that if Roy aims to make the team anything like last night, and if he doesn't drill into the players to come short and show for the ball, then it'll be a very disappointing tournament much like previous England teams.

  • Comment number 79.

    The players need to start getting the ball down and passing it around. It's like going to teaching youngsters how to play. In terms of England, sometimes they look up and see a player who wants the ball but he's being marked. Therefore they don't pass. I'm sorry but these players being marked should be able to control it, look up and have players moving to pass to. Even the passer should make a move if possible. It's that simple. Instead hey knock it back to defence for a bit and hoof it long...

  • Comment number 80.

    At 08:52 27th May 2012, Pete wrote:

    Sorry but Carroll "did not disappoint" is laughable! He really wasn't all that, poor in the air, very little work rate and really wasn't the type of striker we needed to lead the attack.

    I actually thought Carroll gave it a good go last night. To say he was poor in the air considering he won pretty much every header he contested is ridiculous. He held the ball up well and, when he given adequate support made sure the ball found a team mate. Compare this to Wayne "I'm world class yet can't seem to trap a ball run around like a headless chicken" Rooney and I think he could definitely do a job for England at the Euros and beyond.

  • Comment number 81.

    Dull and typical England, seriously need a creative midfielder!

  • Comment number 82.


    do you seriously think that Lescott is a better centre back than Terry

  • Comment number 83.

    @69 I assume Carrick withdrew himself because he's had 6 years of being overlooked in favour of players that have just never played well for England, whilst all the while he was winning things with United. I don't agree with his attitude (same goes for Foster and Robinson) but the point is he should have played so much more for England.

  • Comment number 84.

    At 10:53 27th May 2012, vic777 wrote:


    Jones and Lampard - that's a joke, right?

  • Comment number 85.

    This is why England won't win the Euros, the team is not allowed to win ugly. Norway were not going to Lie down on there own home soil.

  • Comment number 86.

    He has to be regretting picking Downing over Adam Johnson by now.

  • Comment number 87.

    Not a classic perfroamnce but that'll do for now

    Some encouraging signs. Imo Parker was comfortably our best player, when he came off we seemed to completely lose impetus, clearly he sould have been here for years though. Shame on you Fabio. Young started very brightly was clearly exhausted by the end. Baines was also very impressive I thought

    Norway offered remarkably little going forrward and never really looked like scoring. Having said that, Jones looked very exposed at full back and Green was not convincing. Have no idea how Downing started, let alone lasted 82 minutes given the season he;s had

    Carroll was awful, awful lot of work but no end product. Actually feel sorry for him, it's one step forward and two steps back, looked very encouraging towards the end of the season but that miss in the 4th minute seemd to drain his confidence. It's a shame, he seems a genuine guy but will always be held back by a ridiculous proce tag he can never hope to live up to

    Overall? Grounds for cautious optimism. HAvin gsaid that our lack of proper cover for Rooney is shameful

  • Comment number 88.

    73, Your comment made me wonder if we could produce a 2nd complete squad of 23, so here goes (I know some of these are injured or retired from Internationals, and if not may have been in the original squad.
    GK. B Foster, P Robinson, F Forster
    DF. K Walker, M Richards, R Ferdinand, C Smalling, R Shawcross, S Taylor, R Bertrand, D Simpson
    MF. M Jarvis, J Rodwell, M Carrick, J Cole, A Lennon, T Huddlestone, M Noble, M Phillips
    FWD. P Crouch, G Holt, G Hooper, R Lambert.

    Certainly isn't as weak as I thought it might be

  • Comment number 89.

    Same old issues really, cant pass, cant create, players just noy talking to each other. When Milers turnas the defender why cant i hear Carroll screaming for the ball!!! 'GIVE ME IT' and when he didnt pass and instead decides to shoot with his weak foot why isnt Carroll fgoing mental? That sums up England passionaless like someone said they are giving caps away like dulex at an orgy. England call ups and games dont mean nuch to players these days.

    Miler should never start not good enough, Barry is slow and has no footballing brain Gerrar is only doing hollywood passes as theres nothing on in the midfeild its static, Adam Johnson has to go hes are only creative attacking footballing talent we have.

    Good points was the defence big fan of Baines and Jagielka top players. Why isnt Richards goign to the finals? He is a beast.

    Solid disply deffensivley but after that its just cluless and one dimesioanl am not sure how im reading into Hodgson ' we need to get the ball up to the top quicker' we certainl;y dont have the players to pass it up sharpish, I smell hoof ball tactics.......beware france brrrrrrr

  • Comment number 90.

    Gerrard only could play the long pass since Young and Carroll were miles away from him. Young should be doing what Rooney does and dropping deep. I think Rooney up front and Gerrard behind would be a nice combo and they would compliment each other. Milner was dreadful, I think he backheeled the ball out of play and multiple times ran the ball out of play under no pressure whatsoever. Downing was anonymous, it amazes me how Adam Johnson isn't even in the squad let alone in the starting line-up. Parker was decent but every time he got the ball would go backwards. He's an excellent holding midfielder but lacks vision so its pointless playing him in a 2-man midfield since the other centre mid will have to do all of the attacking work. Baines has been miles better than Cole this season and he should start. Barry was dreadful,the only reason I'm worried that he might be injured is that the more useless Henderson might be in the squad. Our best bet is a 4-2-3-1 with Gerrard behind striker but Woy will probably love this big-man-up-front-and-hoof-it-up-to-him football.

  • Comment number 91.

    Maybe not just yet, but I think this should be the team for the future:


    Richards Cahill Jones Baines

    Cleverly Wilshere

    Ox Johnson


    I personally think that team has got massive potential. 4-2-3-1 seems to be the formation of choice now, so. Back four speaks for itself, Cleverly and Wilshere are capable of protecting the defence but are actually creative as well. Ox and Johnson can play as orthodox wingers or can switch and cut inside. Rooney dropping deep to recieve the ball from the midfield, playing off Welbeck replicating their budding partnership at United.

    I would've happily watched this team play next month, because I thought the Euros should've been a stepping stone for the younger players to build up to the World Cup in Brazil. Alas, we do not live in a perfect world.

  • Comment number 92.

    England were tactically terrible.

    They defended way too deep, when we got the ball there was no-one to play it to because everyone was back, except Young, who can do nothing against two centre-halves alone. I lost count of the times the commentary tossed up phrases like "Good defending there from Milner/Walcott/Downing/Carrol" when we should be playing a system that keeps them in offensive positions.

    And on the rare occasions we kept the ball for more than five passes our forward line would charge forward leaving whoever was playing in the defensive midfield positions with no choice but to hoof it long and hope.

    In Hodgson's defence we were playing away so maybe that made us more defensive, and if we win games at the Euros then it'll be built on a strong defensive effort. But I think everyone's desperate to see something a bit different rather than same old England, all played out.

  • Comment number 93.

    Just realised I've completely forgotten about Young in that team. Young should be in over Johnson, but apart from that, think that team looks decent.

  • Comment number 94.

    This would be my squad:

    Hart (Green)

    Richards (G. Johnson) / Terry (Lescott) / Cahill (Jagielka) / Cole (Baines)

    Carrick (Parker)

    A. Johnson (Oxlade-C) / Lampard (Gerrard) / Young (Walcott)

    Welbeck (Holt) / Rooney (Defoe)

    * First choice (Substitute choice)

  • Comment number 95.

    Did you watch a different match to the rest of us? Carroll had nothing to do with Youngs goal which was virtually a solo effort. We had to endure 90 minutes of commentators talking up Carroll when we all know he scored 3 league goals and 1 cup gaol all season. Carroll is the new Heskey. A complete donkey, loved by the media, laughed at by the rest of the world. When are we going to learn?
    Gerrards tackle would have been a straight red in any Euro game, yet it is lauded by the media as some kind of missing display of conviction? Well where has it been for the last ten years?
    Even more lamentable was the proposition that the inclusion of Terry, of all people, would imporove the team. This is the same Terry who had rings run around him by no ther than Carroll!
    Frank Lebouef has written today that true togetherness is what gave the likes of France and Spain victory. Well they do not have an media that is full of entrenched tribal bigots, based in London and including ex-patriot scousers all with their own baggage.
    We will never have togetherness whilst we criticise the successful because of their success and seek to demise the great football institutions rather than cherish them as they do in the rest of the world.

  • Comment number 96.

    >"Therefore the only strategy left appears to be to play a bit like Chelsea in the Champions League with Gerrard playing 'quarterback' firing his long range passes to the nearest attacker."

    "This strategy only works if the oppostion does not score first."


    Do I really have to point out that Barca and Bayern both scored first against Chelsea? And the Chelsea goals did not in fact result via route one football.

  • Comment number 97.

    So many people up in here desperately wants Hodgson to fail, i tell u what, England will go far in this euros; mark my words. Yesterday's game was just a friendly to a country rated no. 23 in the world. Germany lost 5-3 to swiss, Holland lost at home 1-2 to Bulgaria, Portugal played 0-0 against lowly Macedonia and behold, the English fans are complaining for winning 1-0. A few things i noticed about England yesterday; 1. Only 20% of dat team will start the euros. 2. England are going to be unspectacular but very very hard to beat, more like Greece in 2004. 3.England lack the quality and technique to play good football against the likes of Spain and Germany, hence, the Hodgson style will bring results. I can bet a wager that the boring England will get at least a quarter final place. Get behind the team and stop critising...start talking wen the euros start!

  • Comment number 98.

    It's a promising start, Young played well, Kelly and Henderson are getting some experience and Carroll is also getting involved. All he needs to do is be a bit more clinical in his finishing and improve his first touch, it has let him down a lot when it bounces of his foot to far in front of him. Green should not be keeper, he is a horrid goalie, especially after the World Cup and West Ham failures. From what I saw England is missing Rooney, how will they do without him? My pick for strikers would probably be Defoe and Welbeck. Both proven goal scorers, sorry CONSISTENT goal scorers.They should be able to hold the fort until Rooney is back, as much as I hate it but sometimes England are over reliant on some players because they presume that before they played well they will play again now. It may not be the case. Gerrard played reasonably well however the occasional loose pass would sometimes be an issue. Overall, an average night, could have been more solid in the second half but they held out ugly and won ugly.

  • Comment number 99.

    Can anyone remember a worse performance than Gareth Barry's last night? He was on the pitch for 20 minutes and I think he gave the ball away every single time he had it! He's even slower than Xabi Alonso - and has half the class. Will be a blessing in disguise if he can't make it to the tournament.

  • Comment number 100.

    To anyone who says we shouldn't post on here unless we've got something positive to say: these messageboards are the ideal place to sound off, and it's good to see all opinions on here. So get lost!! Whinging Poms? Hey mate, you just sent a long whinging message, so join the club!

    Most (not all) people on here have the same opinion, they want to see more creative, exciting, passing football from England. That's more important than the exact personnel on the pitch, and more important (for many) than trying to play safe and boring everyone to death yet again.

    Do you remember the national sense of relief and optimism when Capello FINALLY switched to one up front and tried to play the kind of creative football that these players play week in-week out in the Prem? I don't even remember the score, I just remember the positive feeling - bright future ahead at last. Not that I thought this style would win us tournaments - Germany, Spain and Holland at least would still be ahead of us, but it would give me something to cheer and get enthusiastic about.

    The negativity comes from knowing that the football we're gonna play will continue to be as dull and dreary as the national anthem, like it has been for the last 30+ years I've been watching England games (with a very few notable exceptions).

    We need a winning mentality, sure. But we need to stop being afraid of playing football first - if we can't beat that mental barrier, how are we going to get the extra bit of confidence and positivity required to make a go of winning tournaments?


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