England stepped up their preparation for the Euro 2016 with a vital 1-0 win over Portugal at Wembley stadium.
England had looked devoid of spark or spontaneity until the point, late on, when Chris Smalling spared them even fiercer analysis with the game’s decisive moment, and to play that drearily was quite some feat bearing in mind the number of attacking players Hodgson had shoehorned into his starting lineup.
Roy Hodgson gave a glimpse of what his formation at the Euros will be as he deployed a 4-4-2 diamond with Rooney behind Premier league top scorers Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy and James Milner and Eric Dier placed in the midfield base.
Kane and Vardy were under instructions to mark the opposition full-backs when Portugal had the ball but, unfortunately for England, it never quite looked right seeing the two most prolific scorers in the Premier League operating as part-time wingers. With Kane drifting right and Alli on the left side of midfield, it also meant there was little of the link-up play that has made them so formidable together for Spurs.
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Midway through the second half Hodgson started trying to switch things around. Raheem Sterling replaced the ineffectual Vardy and took over as the forward tip of the midfield quartet. Rooney moved into Vardy’s slot and Wilshere came on for James Milner at the same time. Alli duly swapped over to the right side of midfield but the formation stayed the same until Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana came on for Kane and Rooney in the 78th minute and Hodgson switched to a 4-3-3 system.
Smalling though finally got the winning goal in the 84th minute, heading in a Raheem Sterling right wing cross as new Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho watched on.England though will now know they need to step up their game as the their first game against Russia gets closer.