Hodgson off to winning start

Daily Echo: Ashley Young (centre) is congratulated by Andy Carroll (right) and Steven Gerrard Ashley Young (centre) is congratulated by Andy Carroll (right) and Steven Gerrard

England launched the Roy Hodgson era in positive fashion with a 1-0 victory over Norway - but were given an injury scare by midfielder Gareth Barry in the Oslo friendly.

Ashley Young earned England their first win over the Norwegians since 1980 with a clinical finish after only nine minutes.

Half-time substitute Barry, who lasted only 26 minutes before making way for stand-by player Jordan Henderson, now faces a scan on a groin injury ahead of Euro 2012. Barry had been part of the 2010 World Cup squad when not fully fit and failed to show his best form.

The line-up selected by Hodgson is likely to bear little resemblance to the side which will face France in the Euros opener. Only Andy Carroll, skipper Steven Gerrard, Scott Parker and Young are near certainties to play in Donetsk and the entire back five will probably change.

But there were still encouraging signs for Hodgson, who maintained the record of no England manager having been beaten in their opening game since Alf Ramsey in 1963. Young looked sharp and confident in the second striker role and showed encouraging signs in tandem with Carroll.

Carroll threatened the first moment of danger when he got on the end of a left-wing cross from Stewart Downing but headed wide.

After nine minutes the sharp-looking Young broke the deadlock. Carroll played the ball to the Manchester United winger, who turned past Norway skipper Brede Hangeland before firing a low shot past Rune Almenning Jarstein into the far corner of the net.

Norway retaliated and Robert Green reacted well to parry aside a rising shot from Markus Henriksen which deflected off Leighton Baines. But the West Ham keeper was relieved when the resulting inswinging corner from Blackburn midfielder Morten Gamst Pedersen struck the near post.

Gerrard did not start the second half - as indicated by Hodgson on Friday. Barry came on and took over the armband - until his early exit.

Baines' free-kick flew right through the defensive wall and forced a fine low save by Jarstein in England's best moment after the break. Hodgson gave debuts to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Martin Kelly in the closing stages - as replacements for Young and Phil Jones respectively - as England held on with relative ease for the victory.

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