Roy Hodgson welcomes Lampard and Carrick return

Frank Lampard

England boss Roy Hodgson said the return of midfielders Frank Lampard and Michael Carrick played a key part in his side's 2-1 victory over Italy.

The experienced pair missed Euro 2012 where Italy beat England on penalties.

"We deserved victory over 90 minutes and there were some very good performances," said Hodgson.

"When you miss players like Lampard and Carrick because they are not available you are maybe going to regret it because of the quality they bring."

Chelsea midfielder Lampard, 34, missed the European Championship because of a thigh injury, while Manchester United's Carrick, 31, made himself unavailable.

But in Switzerland the former West Ham team-mates were a guiding force in an England side that included five debutants, as Jermain Defoe scored a winner 11 minutes from time after Daniele De Rossi's header was cancelled out by Phil Jagielka.

The game was also significant for 19-year-old Jack Butland, who became England's youngest ever goalkeeper despite having only played in League Two - English football's fourth tier.

"The game was worthwhile because it gave us a chance to see so many new players," added Hodgson, who has not lost in open play during his seven games in charge.

"It might have been different if we had used the same players who had been at the Euros with us. But it was great to be able to give some of the senior players a rest and to be able to blood some new players, and they answered the challenge in the best possible way with a great victory."

Manchester United's Tom Cleverley was one of the debutants and played alongside Lampard and Carrick in midfield as Hodgson appeared to subtly shift his formation.

Adam Johnson and Ashley Young provided the width, with Andy Carroll starting up front, but it was Defoe who made the late impact, shooting into the top corner for his 16th England goal.

But Hodgson, 65, said: "It is not about systems, it is about players. The three in midfield passed very well and our wide men worked very hard, but everyone played their part.

"I don't think there was a great difference between what we did in the Euros and what we did tonight. Perhaps we just played with that little bit more composure."

Defoe, 29, dedicated his matchwinner to his cousin Hannah, who died in a freak accident in St Lucia last month. "That goal was for [her]," said Defoe. "It would have been her birthday today."

Hodgson said of Defoe's goal: "It was spectacular, a great way to win the game. 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."

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