England vs Norway: Phil Jones delighted with win despite poor team showing and believes Wayne Rooney will be a 'great captain'

Manchester United defender believes victory was crucial after World Cup woe

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The Independent Football

The win against Norway may not have been particularly pretty but it was one Phil Jones believes was important for England after their miserable World Cup.

Despite the inquest into the Three Lions' miserable summer still being in full flow, they had to begin looking to the future at a sparsely-filled Wembley Stadium on Wednesday evening.

The matchday programme called this "a new journey" - one which began with the public's apathy still evident, with the lowest turnout for an international fixture since the stadium opened in 2007.

Just 40,181 made their way to Wembley, where a Wayne Rooney penalty was all they had to cheer about in an underwhelming display.


It may not have been a performance that will strike fear into opponents, but a win defender Jones knows was important after the World Cup.

"They made it difficult," the defender said. "I thought we started the game really well, took control of the game.

"It was disappointing at the start of the second half. I thought we were a bit slow and sloppy in possession, but I thought we finished the game well.

"You're always going to get teams coming here making it difficult for us, making the pockets of space even tighter for the likes of Raheem (Sterling) and that to get on the ball.

"It is always important to bounce back after really disappointing times.

"It was a great exercise for us, they made it difficult for us. It was nice to get the win and overall it was a positive performance.

"I think we created quite a few chances, but just didn't stick them in the net.

"I am delighted for Wayne. He is always calm, composed and will make a great captain."

The Norway match was a good opportunity to blow away the cobwebs ahead of the main event: Monday's trip to Switzerland.

The match in Basle is the toughest-looking of England's European Championship qualifying group and one they will need to raise their game for.

"It will be a very difficult test," Jones said. "They pose a good threat on the attack and I am sure we will study them in detail. I am looking forward to the game."

As well as Monday's match, Jones is looking forward to returning to club duty with Manchester United.

Things have not gone to plan under Louis van Gaal, but the deadline-day arrival of Radamel Falcao has brought with it a feelgood factor.

"He is a massive player, a great signing for us," Jones said. "Hopefully he can hit the ground running and score us a few goals."