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Hodgson passes first test, barely

May 28, 2012 - 12:06am



This was an auspicious opening to Roy Hodgson's England reign but, at the same time, nothing to shout about.

A 1-0 win in Oslo snapped a 32-year winless streak against Norway yesterday morning (Singapore time), but the Three Lions would know better than to engage in any chest-thumping routine.

It wasn't a pointless exercise though. For Hodgson, it provided precious insight into his team's psyche and potential, even if this was nowhere near his first 11.

Joe Hart was rested, captain Steven Gerrard played only one half, and the Chelsea contingent of Gary Cahill, John Terry, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard have yet to join the squad. Wayne Rooney, who is suspended for the opening two Euro 2012 matches, was missing.

On the back of this performance, France, who are England's opening group game opponents, will not be shivering in fear. The fact remains that Hodgson has at his disposal one of the weakest English pool of players in recent decades.

But there were positives, the most pleasing of which was the good link-up play between Ashley Young as a support striker and Andy Carroll the targetman. Maybe England can cope without Rooney after all.

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