Hodgson happy with England progress
Published : 27 May 2012 13:47:04
Roy Hodgson admits his England team is a work in 'progress', but as he flew out of Oslo the new manager declared himself satisfied with the start of his reign.
On a day when Euro 2012 heavyweights Germany and Holland both lost, England's 1-0 win in Norway on Saturday represented a decent effort.
Hodgson said: "I am aware that it is very much work in progress but after three days with this team I have to be satisfied with a more-than-reasonable performance. We showed a lot of discipline and worked very hard. We weren't as good going forward as we are going to be, but we showed glimpses of it."
The result ended a five-match winless streak against the Scandinavians and cemented a first triumph since 1966, but of far more importance was the chance to bring together a team badly lacking preparation after only three days working with their new boss.
Yet it would be silly to gloss over the faults, and the display probably would not have been sufficient against the likes of Spain or France, England's first Group D opponents in Donetsk on June 11.
An inability to retain possession for any length of time continues to dog the national team, while Gareth Barry's groin injury could trigger an unwanted squad reshuffle before Hodgson has to submit his 23 nominated players to UEFA on Tuesday.
With Scott Parker emerging unscathed from the 45-minute appearance he was scheduled to have, Hodgson pushed him for a bit longer and was delighted with the result. In contrast, fellow midfielder Barry provided a fitness scare and requires a scan after being forced off shortly after entering the fray as a half-time replacement for Steven Gerrard.
More should be known about Barry's condition on Monday, with standby players Jordan Henderson and Phil Jagielka in the frame to step in should the Manchester City midfielder be forced out.
Concerns over Barry aside, Hodgson is at least in the happy position of having competition for places. Joleon Lescott, Leighton Baines and Ashley Young all caught the eye against Norway and none of that trio could be regarded as a member of what, in theory, constitutes England's first-choice line-up.
"There is a good chance that some of the players who play against Belgium on Saturday will also be involved in the game against France," said Hodgson. "But a few players have put spanners in the works. It has given me something to think about."