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May 26, 2012

Barry blow only concern for Hodgson

Roy Hodgson hailed a "marvellous start" to his time as England manager after beating Norway on Saturday, although he was left concerned by an injury to Gareth Barry that could rule him out of the European Championships.

• Young strikes to give England away win

The Three Lions beat Norway 1-0 in Oslo, thanks to Ashley Young's individual effort after just nine minutes.

Hodgson used the game to give a number of players international experience - Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Martin Kelly both received their first senior caps - but the night was soured slightly by Barry's injury, as the Manchester City midfielder limped off with a hamstring injury just 25 minutes after coming on.

Nevertheless, Hodgson was pleased with the result - although he expects the performances to improve after more time to work with the squad in training.

"It was a marvellous start to my England career," Hodgson said. "We had three days tough training and I was a bit concerned about the fatigue factor, with one or two of the players feeling muscles, but that's because we've been working so hard in training.

"But it's a fantastic start to my time in charge because it's a long time since Norway have lost here and a long time since we've got a result here.

"At times we could have been a bit more positive, but that's something we've got to work on.

"But we've started sowing a few seeds and by the time the Euros come around we should have done a bit more work."

As for Barry, he admitted the injury was a cause for great concern - with the final 23-man squad for the European Championship set to be submitted to UEFA this week.

"Gareth Barry worried me a bit more [than Scott Parker, who came through the game unscathed], he did feel his groin so we'll have to get that scanned," he said. "If it's serious that will give me something to think about as we don't have much time left."

Hodgson confirmed Manchester United pair Phil Jones and Young had been taken off as a precaution after experiencing a tightness in their hamstrings.

Andy Carroll impressed leading the line in front of the match-winner Young and, with Wayne Rooney suspended for the opening two games, the duo could now be set to pair together for the opening game of the Euros against France. Hodgson was not prepared to make that decision just yet, however.

"I'm not prepared to make that decision right now," Hodgson said. "I think with more time working together in training we will get Ashley Young in more of those dangerous positions."

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