Time to drop Rooney, Hodgson
(Wayne Rooney 68-pen)
All the components and none of the glory. A win. A clean sheet. A goal for the new captain.
And yet, it's impossible to ignore two glaring facts: The nation is bored with their team and, on the evidence of this, no wonder.
But, more pertinently, England are better without their new captain.
The English people have had just about all they can take of this side.
The new Wembley Stadium saw its lowest-ever attendance - 40,181.
Given that the game was played out in silence and that the entire upper tier of the stadium was empty, that number seems suspiciously high.
England have always been well supported, attracting near full houses for their home games, but enough appears to have been enough.
A combination of the summer slump and an uninspiring qualification campaign ahead seems to have dulled the passion.
But the real worry is that England manager Roy Hodgson already seems to have an issue with his new captain.
Wayne Rooney scored the winner from the penalty spot, but was ineffectual prior to that moment and when he was withdrawn immediately after his strike, England switched shape and instantly looked more dangerous.
Hodgson told the media upon Rooney's appointment that he liked to think he would be strong enough to drop his new skipper if necessary. Soon, he may have to put that theory to the test.
England began with something approaching a 4-4-2.
John Stones looked confident and composed at right back while Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson made a decent fist of holding the midfield.
Rooney sat slightly behind Daniel Sturridge, with the best moments coming when the Liverpool man linked up with his club teammate Raheem Sterling.
Norway were unadventurous and barely threatened. At least until the second half.
Perhaps sensing that England's inability to create chances was more than a passing problem, the Scandinavians upped the pressure and twice came close to taking the lead.
Joe Hart, on both occasions, was England's saviour.
Sterling went on to earn the critical penalty, powerfully dispatched by Rooney.
As he cantered off the field after 70 minutes, Rooney must have felt that his was a headline-grabbing contribution. But, in his absence, England improved markedly.
Sterling went into the hole, where he performs so well for Liverpool. New Arsenal signing Danny Welbeck went up front and the midfield became a diamond.
England should have doubled their lead. Sterling's pace, Welbeck's selflessness and Sturridge's desire looked a far more potent combination.
This was England with verve and speed, no longer plodding along.
Rooney's goal was only England's second shot on target in 170 minutes of football, a stunning statistic that hammers home how poor they have been of late.
There is no doubt that his presence seems to slow England down in the final third and, right now, his touch isn't good enough to make up for it.
One pass in the first half evoked memories of his infamous World Cup corner in the summer.
Rooney turned on the ball near the halfway line, looked up and smashed the ball towards the corner flag, 40 metres from any England player.
Rooney has class, there's no question of that. It's just that no-one has seen it for a while.
He wasn't particularly good for Manchester United last season, he wasn't particularly good for England in the summer and, save for a good goal in a home defeat by Swansea, he hasn't been very good for his club this season either.
The question has to be asked, what does he have to do to get dropped?
After England's loss to Italy in the World Cup, no less an authority than Andrea Pirlo commented on the class of Sterling.
The youngster had caused Italy all kinds of problems through the centre, while Rooney struggled on the left.
Hodgson's response in the next match was to push Sterling out wide and give his position to the United forward. Sterling was anonymous and England lost to Uruguay.
Hodgson doesn't have many players at his disposal, but he has enough to do better than he is doing.
At some point, he'll have to make a decision: Protect England or protect Rooney?
Few would disagree that he has to go for the former.
"I wasn’t impressed with the 4-4-2 system but I liked Daniel Sturridge’s movement although I thought Wayne Rooney was very quiet. Whether it was the pressure of the armband, he just didn’t get in the game."
- Former England winger Chris Waddle
'Wayne could have played better'
Roy Hodgson has admitted that Wayne Rooney was not at his best in England's slender friendly victory over Norway at Wembley yesterday morning (Singapore time).
Rooney, who was captaining the Three Lions for the first time, helped his side see off their opponents 1-0, thanks to his penalty 22 minutes from time.
"It was a big night for Wayne, there was a lot of responsibility weighing on his shoulders, not least with the penalty which he had to take and knew he had to score to secure the win," said Hodgson (above).
"Wayne will tell you he can play better than that and have better games. But you're not always going to give the best performance and you don't become a bad player if you don't put in the performance you wanted."
Rooney admitted that he and England will have to improve on their lacklustre performance if they are to avoid a dispiriting start to their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign in Switzerland next Tuesday morning.
"I thought I could have done better - we all could have done better," Rooney told ITV Sport.
"It's the first game after the World Cup and it was important that we got the win tonight, especially going into the game on Monday.
"We got the win in the end and there are a lot of young players in this team. They are still learning."
Rooney's penalty was virtually the Manchester United striker's only memorable contribution to a desultory England display.
Given the chance to chase away the World Cup blues, Hodgson's side instead registered only two shots on target against an average Norway team, with Rooney often guilty of trying too hard to make something out of nothing.
Rooney conceded that England will need to be better in all departments to avoid a defeat against their only serious Group E rivals in Basel.
"Yeah, we have to (step it up). We know Switzerland are a good team," Rooney said.
"We have four days to prepare. We will work hard to prepare and we'll be ready. Hopefully, we can come back with a victory." - Wire Services.
COOLLY DONE: Wayne Rooney's (far left) successful penalty conversion was basically his only meaningful contribution in his debut as England captain.
Wayne Rooney led England as captain for the first time in the friendly win over Norway.
PA Sport takes a look at how the Manchester United forward performed.
The 28-year-old was the proudest man in Wembley as he walked the team out onto the famous turf.
Rooney was eager to get into the game early on and, although he struggled for clear possession, always looked for the ball. Was all smiles when he scored from the penalty spot.
Back in his more favoured central position alongside Daniel Sturridge, Rooney was expected to offer England a real menace down the middle, but went through a slow opening 20 minutes before dropping deeper.
In the first half, Rooney's speculative 25-metre shot was blocked, but there were no real clear-cut chances for the United frontman to attack in or around the Norway penalty area.
Made no mistake from the spot, though, crashing the ball high into the top-left corner.
Despite not having the best of night's himself, Rooney never shirked the responsibility of the armband, continually encouraging those around him to press in what was for large parts a match played out at a low tempo in front of a sparse Wembley crowd.