LONDON (AP) — Wayne Rooney marked the start of his England captaincy by scoring a penalty in an uninspiring 1-0 victory over Norway in front a record-low crowd for the team at the new Wembley Stadium on Wednesday.
In England's first game since its worst-ever World Cup showing, Roy Hodgson's side rarely looked like scoring against unambitious opposition and the breakthrough in the friendly only came when Raheem Sterling was tripped in the penalty area.
From the penalty spot, Rooney's 41st international goal in the 68th minute gave the 28-year-old striker sole possession of fourth place on the England scoring leaderboard, just eight behind Bobby Charlton's record.
"We all could have done better," Rooney said. "In the first half we moved quite well but they made it difficult for us and sat back and created a few opportunities in the first half.
"In the second half we started really sloppy and that was disappointing as we wanted to go out and really take the game to them."
The attendance was given as 40,181 but appeared to be lower at 90,000-capacity stadium, given it included the 17,000 Club Wembley members who have access to every game. The previous lowest since the new stadium opened in 2007 saw 48,876 attend a 2011 friendly against Sweden.
When England left Brazil early after losing twice and drawing once, this friendly was always going to be a tough sell when England is contracted to playing all home games at Wembley.
With stalwart midfielders Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard retiring after the World Cup, this was being billed as the start of a new era, with the average age of the starting lineup 24 as England prepares for the start of qualifying for the 2016 European Championship at Switzerland on Monday.
In the post-World Cup post mortem much scrutiny has come on the limiting opportunities for English youngsters. That was highlighted when the summer transfer window closed with the bulk of the 835 million pounds ($1.38 billion) splurged by Premier League clubs being on foreign players.
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