England secured a 1-0 win over Portugal at Wembley Stadium, but the performance was far from convincing.
Chris Smalling gave the Three Lions the victory in the 86th minute but England have little to brag about after playing nearly an hour against 10 men.
Bruno Alves was sent off for a horrendous lunge at Harry Kane’s head but the hosts couldn’t capitalise until late on. It was a dull and uninspired effort from Roy Hodgson’s side.
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The England boss opted for a diamond formation - a clear indicator of the formation he will adopt in England’s Euro 2016 opener against Russia next Saturday - but the performance will leave him with much to ponder.
Wayne Rooney was utilised just behind Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane and the presence of the Manchester United man forced the Premier League’s top two scorers to adopt wide positions on all too regular occurrences.
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There is a genuine concern that Hodgson is trying too hard to accommodate England’s all-time leading goalscorer.
Dele Alli, so magnificent for Tottenham Hotspur playing in a central position, took up the left side of the diamond and failed to stamp his authority on the game as a result.
And England fans are fully convinced that Hodgson’s perseverance with Rooney is hindering the national team.
Check out the reaction below.
Smalling’s neat header from Raheem Sterling’s pinpoint cross spared Hodgson’s blushes and means England enter the European Championship on the back of three straight victories.
And the 66-year-old was upbeat afterwards, although he would have preferred Alves not to have got himself off.
“It is often a struggle when you play against 10 men. We would have preferred a 11 v 11 game, to flow more in attack and in defence,” he told the BBC.
"We were on the ball and trying to find the way through a packed and well organised Portugal defence.
"I am pleased we kept our composure and patience, pleased with the clean sheet. The longer the game wore on, we looked more dangerous, looked as if we could score the goal. The result came from a long period of sustained pressure.
"I don't intend to come on radio to tell you what I think of what worked and what didn't.
"The players worked hard to keep their shape and build attacks. It is our third win and one against a Portugal team ranked higher than us in the Fifa rankings, so no reason to be dissatisfied.”
Hodgson said before the game that tonight’s starting line-up wouldn’t necessarily be the one he selects for the opening group game, and he’s happy to have a selection headache.
"Have I decided my best 11? That is difficult and will depend on the night,” he continued.
"I am happy I have got 16/17 good players and happy with the options available to us."
What is England's best XI? Let us know in the comments section below!
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