England 1, Portugal 0: I'm not prepared to criticise, says Hodgson after Three Lions sign off for Euro 2016 with abject showing

 
Ross McLean
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Smalling netted his first senior international goal (Source: Getty)

England boss Roy Hodgson refused to allow any negativity cloud his Euro 2016 preparations despite the Three Lions stuttering to an uninspiring win over 10-man Portugal in their final warm-up clash at Wembley.

A largely abject performance was enlivened in the latter stages as defender Chris Smalling notched his first senior international goal. England will now travel to their Chantilly training base on Monday before their first match of the competition against Russia in Marseille on 11 June.

Portugal failed to register a shot on target but were forced to retreat into their defensive shells after centre-half Bruno Alves saw red 10 minutes before half-time following a ludicrous head-high tackle on Harry Kane.

Hodgson opted to employ a diamond formation in midfield with Wayne Rooney starting behind Kane and Jamie Vardy, and while it returned limited success, Hodgson declared himself pleased with England’s tournament build-up.

“In every game of football, some people will have a really good night, some people will have a less good night. I’m not prepared to stand here and start criticising some players while praising others,” said Hodgson.

“I’m not prepared to add my voice at the moment to the debate. I’m not prepared to say this is better or that is better, we need all of those players playing well. We need all of those players doing what they can do well.

“I’m really happy. The 23 players have really done well. If I start being dissatisfied when we win three games in a row against Turkey, Australia and Portugal then I’m going to be a very, very hard coach to please.”

England’s first real sight of goal arrived after 23 minutes as skipper Rooney’s header following a cross from rampaging full back Kyle Walker was comfortably grasped by Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men shortly after the half hour mark as veteran Fenerbahce defender Alves was dismissed for a dangerously high tackle on Three Lions striker Kane.

Their last five matches against Portugal had ended in draws and England’s pedestrian performance, which continued into the second period, hinted that a sixth successive stalemate was the most likely outcome.

Hodgson blinked after 66 minutes, replacing Vardy and James Milner with Raheem Sterling and Jack Wilshere, while maintaining the diamond formation.

One of those substitutes, Sterling, provided the ammunition for England’s barely deserved winner on 86 minutes. His early, inswinging cross from the left flank was met by Smalling, who guided a downward header beyond Patricio.