England vs Norway analysis: Five things we learnt, including Wayne Rooney trying too hard and Jack Wilshere brightness

A look at what we discovered from 1-0 win at Wembley

Wembley Stadium

1. Rooney trying too hard

It is beyond a cliché to say that passion makes Wayne Rooney the player he is, but this was a night – far from the first – when Rooney appeared to be trying too hard. Of course, it was his first game as full-time England captain and he said beforehand that he “demanded a lot from himself”. Here, he seemed to be demanding rather too much. to be able to play effectively

Rooney was always keen to be involved, and certainly never hid, but his enthusiasm often led to imprecision, his haste often slowed England down. Rooney’s touch was not at its best, and a few England attacks broke down around his feet.

One attempted diagonal ball nearly ended up on Wembley Way and, until his emphatically converted penalty which was his last action of the game, the most he did to hurt the Norwegians was when he elbowed Havard Nordtveit in the face.

Read more: England 1 Norway 0 match report
Player ratings: Was Sterling the best?
Crowd: New low at Wembley

2. Wilshere bright and busy

Jack Wilshere’s England career has felt rather suspended over the last few years, certainly since his ankle injury here at Wembley in a Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland over three years ago. Roy Hodgson said this week that his own hopes of working with Wilshere had been “dashed by the injuries”, meaning that this game – the first of the post-Lampard, post-Gerrard era  – was a good chance for the Arsenal man to develop his new relationship with Jordan Henderson.

Jack Wilshere tumbles in the box during England's 1-0 win over Norway Jack Wilshere tumbles in the box during England's 1-0 win over Norway  

On those grounds, this was a display that – if not crammed with promise – at least showed flickers.

Wilshere was bright and busy in the first-half, one of the few England players looking to break through the Norwegian lines with his quick one-twos, which also won England free-kicks.

He passed the ball briskly, always looking for Leighton Baines or Raheem Sterling and he should have won England a first-half penalty when tripped by Nordtveit in the box.

Read more: Analysis: Five things we learnt at Wembley
Comment: Another false dawn

3. Diamond deal for Hodgson

Roy Hodgson said before the game that he would not be swayed into using whatever “the buzz formation of the moment” was, but the team did slightly improve when England adopted a diamond midfield shape for the final 20 minutes.

Raheem Sterling, who had been good enough out on the left for the first hour, was more involved in a central role, seeing more of the ball, taking on opponents, and able to work between Norway’s own rigid lines.

Raheem Sterling in action at Wembley Raheem Sterling in action at Wembley  

James Milner and Fabian Delph provided the energy- shuttling form midfield, ahead of Jordan Henderson at the base. The whole England side appeared better equipped to cause Norway problems than they did in the first 70 minutes, which was a simple case of two boring systems allayed against one another.

But will it be enough to convince Hodgson to abandon his flat 4-4-2 in Basel?

 

4. King revels in battle royal

As talented as Mats Moller Daehli is, it was another former Manchester United youngster among the Norway side who caused England the most problems last night. Joshua King, of Blackburn Rovers, had to lead the line in a 4-1-4-1 system, which did not grant him very much support.

King was in a physical battle with Phil Jones all night, and while in the first half Jones tended to come off better – suggesting that he might replace Phil Jagielka at centre-back for England for the foreseeable future – King burst into life in the second half, forcing two good saves from Joe Hart. The first was a header from a corner, when King got the better of John Stones at the near post, obliging Hart to stick out a strong left hand.The work for the second was even better, King racing down the left, away from Stones, then from Jones and Gary Cahill, making Hart come out to block.

 

5. Improved atmosphere

This evening was not exactly an advert for the public enthusiasm in the England team. The official attendance of 40,181 felt on the generous side almost the entire upper tier of the stadium was empty. And yet it was, in its own way, a more positive atmosphere than for many England games in recent years. There were only smatterings of boos at half-time, after a performance which had not given very much to cheer about.

England fans cheer during the International friendly match between England and Norway at Wembley Stadium England fans cheer during the International friendly match between England and Norway at Wembley Stadium  

It was not very long ago that Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole had been jeered by the Wembley crowd. While there is certainly not much expectation in the performance of the team, the crowd looked to be behind almost all of the players themselves.  Which is not to say that it was a memorable Wembley night, but it was not a sour one either.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Johnny Depp is perhaps best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
peopleBut how did he break it?
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Walker and Vin Diesel in Fast and Furious 5
film
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss