Football: Hodgson lets rip at England critics after lacklustre friendly victory over Norway

England manager Roy Hodgson attends a news conference at their team hotel in Watford, north of London on Sept 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
England manager Roy Hodgson attends a news conference at their team hotel in Watford, north of London on Sept 2, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON, (AFP) - England manager Roy Hodgson lost his temper and swore during a briefing with journalists after being questioned about his side's lacklustre friendly victory over Norway.

A penalty by new captain Wayne Rooney gave England a 1-0 win at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday, but it was one of only two shots on target that Hodgson's side registered over the course of the game.

A record low crowd for the new Wembley of 40,181 saw England toil in their first game since their group-stage exit at the World Cup, and Hodgson snapped when he was asked to explain his side's shortcomings.

"The bottom line is this: before the World Cup we're getting 75,000, 80,000 people to see us play Peru, who, with respect, were nowhere near as difficult an opponent as we have played tonight (Wednesday)," he said.

"And now we've got 40,000 to see us play against a much more difficult opponent. I can't put that right because I can't turn the clock back.

"But what I can do is analyse what I have seen today and judge that through my eyes and not judge it because someone is going to tell me, 'Well, you only had two shots at goal.' "Because that, for me, is absolute fucking bollocks. I'm sorry." The game against Norway was England's first since the international retirements of veteran midfielders Steven Gerrard - Rooney's predecessor as captain - and Frank Lampard, and Hodgson was also missing several players through injury.

Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling impressed, notably winning the penalty that gave England victory, but Hodgson warned against saddling England's next generation of players with unhelpful expectations.

"Some of these players are top, top players in the making, but they are players in the making," said the 67-year-old.

"You can't play five games for England and be a regular in the Liverpool football team for six or seven months and be David Beckham.

"You can't come in like Phil Jones after all the injuries and at the moment nail down a place in the centre of Manchester United's defence and become John Terry.

"You can't be Jack Wilshere, who has lost all that football through injury, and suddenly get in there and be Bryan Robson. Let's be fair about these things. That's all I'm asking.

"But also, allow me to be excited by what they can do and allow me also, when they play well, to stand in front of an assembled press conference and say 'I think they did well', even though there might be some cynicism out there." England begin their qualifying campaign for the 2016 European Championship on Monday when they tackle main Group E rivals Switzerland in Basel.

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