Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rooney Spot on but Little to Excite Fans; THE MATCH: England 1 Norway 0

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Rooney Spot on but Little to Excite Fans; THE MATCH: England 1 Norway 0

Article excerpt

NEW captain Wayne Rooney rescued Roy Hodgson from embarrassment as a recordlow crowd watched England sneak past Norway in a dull and uninspiring friendly at Wembley.

Just 40,181 turned up to the national stadium to watch England register a 1-0 win thanks to Rooney's 69th-minute penalty.

It was the lowest England crowd at the new Wembley by more than 8,000.

Six of the last seven Johnstone's Paint Trophy finals have been better attended.

Those who stayed away sent a clear message to Hodgson's team - that they would have to win their support back with an impressive display following the disappointment of the World Cup.

But the majority of the fans who came to north-west London last night will feel they did not get value for money.

England's first shot on target was the one that Rooney rifled past Orjan Haskjold Nyland from 12 yards - and their build-up play was terribly slow at times, particularly in the first half.

It was only when Rooney's penalty hit the back of the net that England started to play anywhere near their best.

Danny Welbeck gave the Arsenal fans in the crowd a glimpse of his potential with a few mazy runs while Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge also showed flashes of positivity.

But Hodgson knows he will need too see an improvement from his men to win in Switzerland on Monday and to get the crowds flocking back to Wembley again.

Those in attendance in north-west London may have wished they too had stayed at home after a sloppy start epitomised by a wayward 25-yard free-kick from Baines.

England finally began to settle after 15 minutes, with Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling showing an understanding cultivated at Liverpool, playing a neat one-two which would have resulted in a shot was it not for a timely block by Forren.

Jack Wilshere clipped a ball over to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as the hosts next tried to unlock the Norway defence, with Jones heading the resulting corner across the face of goal and just wide.

Joe Hart easily dealt with Tarik Elyounoussi's long-range strike when Norway registered their first attempt in the 21st minute - a rare moment of respite for the visitors. …

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