England take on Norway in an international friendly on Wednesday night at Wembley Stadium. This will be Roy Hodgson’s first game in charge since his troops’ poor World Cup showing in Brazil, and his side is sure to be out with a vengeance. The game also marks the first time that Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard won’t be involved with the national squad following their respective retirements during the Summer.
The last time England went toe-to-toe with the Norwegians was in May 2012 away from home, just before the European Championships, England narrowly winning 1-0 on the day. Ashley Young scored the only goal that day, and he’s just one of a number of players from the 2012 squad who won’t be involved this time around as Roy Hodgson sets about refurbishing his team after England went out at the group stages in Brazil. England haven’t got a bad record against the Scandinavians, playing eleven games in total, winning six, drawing three and losing just two. Hodgson will hope his young studs can add to that impressive record tomorrow night, but as we say in Brazil, nothing can be taken for granted. Nevertheless, this is a very important game for morale in England and one that they ‘should’ win.
England’s Key Men:
Arguably the most promising young player to come through the English ranks over the last decade, Raheem Sterling could prove to be England’s go-to man tomorrow night. His pace, energy and skill will be pivotal in trying to unlock a stubborn Norway rearguard. Sterling may play out wide tomorrow but he’s more than capable of playing up front or in the middle of an attacking three. England will look to Daniel Sturridge to provide the goals tomorrow night, with the Liverpool man expected to lead the line up top for Hodgson. His relationship with Kop team-mate Sterling may prove too much for Norway with the blistering pace and dynamism between the pair. Wayne Rooney has been named as England’s new captain following legend Steven Gerrard’s retirements and Hodgson will hope the Manchester United star can inspire the players around him to up their game. Rooney’s versatility and mobility means he could and probably will pop up just about anywhere tomorrow night.
Fifteen year-old wonderkid Martin Odegaard is in line to start tomorrow and it will be interesting to see how this young starlet fares against the likes of Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere. However this game could be a tall order for the boy and you would imagine that England have the talent to dominate the middle third of the pitch. Whilst England look good in attack, their defence was blatantly suspect during the World Cup, it will be interesting to see if Gary Cahill can redeem himself after Brazil’s mockery and lay down a stern marker for the European Championship qualification route when he’ll come up against a speedy Ola Kamara of Norway. Kamara’s pace and running ability on and off the ball will test Cahill but the Chelsea man is in top form and should cope willingly.
A nervy start for both sides, Norway to sit back and hit on the break but England’s class up front to prevail on the night. 3-0.
England: Hart; Baines, Cahill, Stones, Jones; Henderson, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sterling; Sturridge, Rooney
Norway: Jarstein; Hogli, Forren, Nordtveit, Elabdellaoui; Samuelsen, Jenssen, Odegaard, Daehli; Elyounoussi, Kamara
Do you think that this England squad shows enough promise for Euro 2016 and even looking forward to the next World Cup? What sort of performance are you expecting from Roy Hodgson’s boys tonight? Let us know in the comments or on twitter @TBRFootball .