England could only manage a 1-1 draw with Italy. This match was seen as a big test for the team that had won every match since the World Cup 2014.
Up until now, they have not faced any serious competition apart from the Switzerland team. A victory would have made Hodgson extremely happy as the team had won the last seven matches, but it was not to be. Southampton forward Pelle give the home team the lead within half an hour and it took England a long time to get back into the match through a goal from Tottenham winger Andros Townsend.
One of positives from the match was the impact made by Everton midfielder Ross Barkley, who came on as substitute for Arsenal winger Theo Walcott after just 55 minutes. As he played almost the entire second half, Barkley was able to provide a major impact on the pitch. Hodgson admitted that the first half was not really the best, as England failed to get control of the match. Striker Wayne Rooney also admitted that it was the case and that the players were extremely disappointed after the first 45 minutes. The second half was much better and England deserved the equaliser. The team will be facing Republic of Ireland in a friendly match in June.
“Ross is a terrific young player and I think he can have an impact when he comes on and he did that, he took the ball, he ran at the Italian defenders and made it difficult for them.Hopefully he can kick on now for the rest of the season. Obviously there were a lot of changes tonight and at the end of the game even more changes.We’ve got a whole team, basically, that didn’t play here tonight but the great thing was the ones who came on – and I’m thinking particularly of Ross Barkley and Andros (Townsend) – they did brilliantly well,” said Hodgson.