Captain lauds ‘skilful’ Young

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SKIPPER Steven Gerrard believes Ashley Young can be England’s lethal weapon during the Euro 2012 finals.

Young helped new England head coach Roy Hodgson get off to a winning start with the only goal against Norway in Saturday’s friendly international in Oslo.

The Manchester United player has now scored four goals in his last four appearances for his country and linked up well with main striker Andy Carroll.

The Norwegians struggled to contain Young, particularly during the first half, as he found plenty of space to exploit in between the midfield and defence.

Gerrard said: “Ashley is a good player and when he plays that withdrawn role off the front man and gets in between the lines, he is very dangerous and skilful.

“Opposing defenders and midfielders don’t know how to pick him up because he finds the space so well.

“He is in good form for England and is scoring a lot of goals at the right time with the Euros coming up.

“We are really pleased with Ashley’s performance and I thought him and Andy look decent together.”

Gerrard has high hopes of Carroll after his end of season form for Liverpool and he did not disappoint in his first England start for 14 months.

He said: “I thought Andy did okay. It was all eyes on him because of the form he showed when he finished the season for Liverpool.

“He will be a big asset for this team and this squad if he can play to his level.

“Andy worked so hard and put a real shift in. He always does that and that’s what you’ve got to understand with him. Not only is his form good, he is putting in a lot of hard work for the team.”

n Matt Phillips insists there is plenty more to come from him in a Scotland jersey after making his debut on a night to forget for the national team.

The Blackpool winger finally ended his wait for a first cap, having been forced to pull out of the last outing against Slovenia in February through injury.

He knows his maiden bow will be remembered for all the wrong reasons after the Scots crashed to a heavy 5-1 defeat to the USA in Florida.

However, Phillips - who switched allegiance after representing England at Under-19 and Under-20 level - was thrilled to make his first appearance despite the result.

The former Sheffield United loanee said: “I’m delighted to have made my debut. It was a tough game but there is more to come.”

He added: “It was a disappointing night for us. It was very hot and humid.

“They are a very good side but maybe we just didn’t give a good account of ourselves so we are disappointed.”