Wayne Rooney
Rooney netted his 41st international goal to pass Michael Owen on the all-time scorers list.Getty Images/Jamie McDonald

England warmed up for the European Championship qualifier against Switzerland with an uncertain win over Norway as their World Cup hangover failed to abate at a half-full Wembley Stadium.

In front of a crowd of 40,181 - the smallest to watch an international at the new Wembley - Wayne Rooney's second half penalty, the 41st goal for his country which saw him surpass Michael Owen to become England fourth highest goalscorer, separated the two sides.

On an evening where Norway provided stubborn resistance Roy Hodgson handed second-half debuts to Fabian Delph and Calum Chambers but will travel to Basel for next week's opening Euro 2016 qualifier knowing their Swiss opponents will not be so nearly as forgiving.

Beginning life without Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, Hodgson had called on his team to produce a performance worthy of their billing and while Rooney began as permanent captain for the first time, the only genuine change from Brazil saw John Stones win his first full cap.

Though Hodgson had refrained from ringing the changes ahead of the start of qualifying for the European Championships, a record-low attendance at the new Wembley gave an indication as to the work his team have to do to convinced following a summer of struggle.

The world No.53 ranked nation Norway no longer boasted the array of Premier League stars they once did but required a moral-boosting showing ahead of their own Euro 2016 qualifying opener against Italy next Tuesday.

But it was England who began in the ascendency, possessing an early vibrancy which had been lacking for much of Hodgson's tenure in charge, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Daniel Sturridge and Jack Wilshere all showing neat touches.

Indeed, a tidy exchange of passes between Liverpool pair Sturridge and Raheem Sterling almost yielded the first goal inside the opening quarter of an hour but Vegard Forren – formerly of Southampton – blocked the resulting effort.

Martin Linnes was then forced to clear after Wilshere released Oxlade-Chamberlain amid a bright England start, which was almost capped with a goal but Phil Jones headed narrowly wide.

The visitors were naturally feeding off scraps in the opening exchanges but Tarik Elyounoussi did test Joe Hart from range after a wayward England clearance however the Hoffenheim forward's effort from 25 yards was easily saved.

Sturridge should have given England the lead after collecting Sterling's delightful chip over the top but only lifted the ball onto the roof of the net before the latter turned provider again but some last ditch defending from Havard Nordtveit denied Leighton Baines.

Referee Jorge Sousa then denied the hosts a penalty when Wilshere was tripped by Nordtveit as England's first half dominance quickly turned to into frustration and ironic cheering from the substandard crowd.

Though they had barely threatened in the first 45 minutes, Norway came the closest to breaking the deadlock just after the break as Hart brilliantly kept out Josh King's close-range header.

The Blackburn Rovers forward was denied by Hart again after Gary Cahill's poor back-pass as England began in lacklustre fashion, but mid-way through the second half they grabbed the breakthrough.

Sterling's change of pace seduced a foul from Omar Elabdellaoui in the area, leading to referee Sousa pointing to the spot, allowing Rooney to notch his 41st international goal with a coolly taken penalty.

A trio of changes, which included Delph and Chambers winning their first caps, reinvigorated England and almost led to a second as Welbeck – fresh from his deadline day move to Arsenal, saw Orjan Haskjold Nyland keep out his rasping near-post shot.

But a closing period of play disrupted by a series of late substitutions - which included Gary Cahill going off with an ankle injury - only worked to emphasise the work Hodgson has to do to kick-start England's new era.