Euro 2012: Andy Carroll had his best England display, says Taylor

Andy Carroll
Andy Carroll had his best game in an England shirt, according to Graham Taylor

Former England manager Graham Taylor has praised Liverpool striker Andy Carroll's performance in England's 1-0 friendly win over Norway in Oslo.

Taylor told BBC Radio 5 live Carroll should start England's Euro 2012 opener against France in the absence of the suspended Wayne Rooney.

"He played his best game for England yesterday (Saturday)," said Taylor.

"And on that performance, especially without Rooney, I would include him in my 11 for the first game."

He added: "His touch was excellent - he was bringing people into play and he was winning a number of balls in the air when they came."

England won 1-0 with an early goal from Ashley Young and Taylor expects a much different side to take on Belgium in England's last friendly before the European finals, at Wembley on Saturday.

"What we saw, if we compare it to a club situation, was the England reserve team taking on Norway, who are not an easy side to deal with here in Oslo," Taylor acknowledged.

"Some of the players who were playing are not even going to be going to the Euros. I think we will see those changes in the game against Belgium.

"I think Roy will know that he has to get as close as he can to the team he sees as his first team."

Taylor believes the delay in appointing a new manager could be a factor England can turn to their advantage at Euro 2012, which starts on 8 June.

"I think the lack of expectancy is actually good for the English players," he said.

"I wouldn't call it excuses - but if we don't do well, whose fault it is it? Well - the FA's for the late appointment of the manager.

"I'm not being cynical, but that actually helps a little bit in terms of taking the pressure off the players.

"If we can get out of the group and go into the quarter-final stage after what's happened at such late notice with the England set-up - that will merit an achievement."