Midfielders earn Hodgson's praise
© AFP

Roy Hodgson hailed the influence of midfield duo Frank Lampard and Michael Carrick following England's 2-1 win over Italy in Berne.

Making his first international appearance since May 2010, Carrick produced a quietly effective performance alongside Lampard who, at 34, is aiming to defy the ageing process by featuring in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. With Gareth Barry and Scott Parker both set to miss the opening of England's qualifying campaign against Moldova and Ukraine next month through injury, the pair could turn into crucial figures for Hodgson.

"They were the outstanding players," he said. "You don't become a really good player overnight. You have to play an awful lot of football at the highest level. They've done that internationally and for two very important club sides. The quality of their play was very good and it was good for the youngsters to have those around them showing that composure on the ball."

The quality of their play was very good and it was good for the youngsters to have those around them showing that composure on the ball.
Roy Hodgson on Carrick and Lampard

Carrick's ability to retain possession was something England so obviously lacked in Poland and Ukraine this summer. "In the Euros, especially towards the end and the second half against Italy where they dominated, we did have an excuse," said Hodgson.

"We were a bit tired at that time. It wasn't a typical performance from an England team, and not the way we want to play. This is the way we want to play."

It was a victorious occasion too even though Italy went ahead through Daniele de Rossi's first-half header. Phil Jagielka levelled before Jermain Defoe netted a superb winner 10 minutes from time, which came with a tinge of sadness.

"That goal was for my cousin who died in St Lucia," said Defoe, whose 20-year-old cousin Hannah was killed in a freak accident. It would have been her birthday."

It was Defoe's 16th England goal and earned a glowing tribute from his manager, who has seen those predatory instincts plenty of times before. "It was spectacular, a great way to win the game," said Hodgson. "That is his forte, something he can do. He does it regularly for Tottenham and it was nice to see him doing it for England."