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Hodgson defends tactics during England win over Portugal

Britain Football Soccer - England v Portugal - International Friendly - Wembley Stadium - 2/6/16 England manager Roy Hodgson Action Images via Reuters / Matthew Childs Livepic
Britain Football Soccer - England v Portugal - International Friendly - Wembley Stadium - 2/6/16England manager Roy HodgsonAction Images via Reuters / Matthew ChildsLivepic

(Reuters) - England manager Roy Hodgson has defended his strategy of deploying strikers Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane in wide areas during the 1-0 win over 10-man Portugal in a Euro 2016 warm-up at Wembley on Thursday.

Defender Chris Smalling headed in the only goal with five minutes left and Hodgson declared himself satisfied with England's winning momentum ahead of the European Championship in France despite being criticised for his team's torpid attacking display.

England played with Vardy and Kane up top and skipper Wayne Rooney in the number 10 role at the tip of a midfield diamond, but both front men found themselves on the flanks too often.

"We played with split strikers. If you play with them both through the middle with (Wayne) Rooney central as well you can't defend the wide areas," Hodgson said.

"There were some moments where you might be right and Kane and Vardy were a little too wide but their job is to split and come together at the right times," he added.

"If you play with a man in behind them, you have to make sure he has space in which to run."

England beat Australia 2-1 in a friendly in Sunderland last week, following up on their 2-1 win over fellow Euro 2016 finalists Turkey in May.

"I'm not prepared to accept that we didn't play well," Hodgson added. "I'm very pleased with three wins, we never looked like conceding a goal."

England, who have been drawn in Group B for the 24-team tournament, open their campaign against Russia on June 11 before taking on Wales and Slovakia.

(Reporting by Ian Rodricks in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

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