Just 40,181 turned up to the national stadium to watch England register a 1-0 win thanks to Rooney’s 69th minute penalty.
It was the lowest England crowd at the new Wembley by more than eight thousand.
Six of the last seven Johnstone’s Paint Trophy finals have been better attended.
Those that stayed away sent a clear message to Hodgson’s team - that they would have to win their support back with an impressive display following the disappointment of the World Cup. But the majority of the fans who came to north-west London last night will feel they did not get value for money.
England’s first shot on target was the one that Rooney rifled past Orjan Haskjold Nyland from 12 yards – after Raheem Sterling was tripped inside the box – and their build-up play was terribly slow at times, particularly in the first half.
It was only when Rooney’s penalty hit the back of the net did England start to play anywhere near their best.
Danny Welbeck gave the Arsenal fans in the crowd a glimpse of his potential with a few mazy runs while Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge also showed flashes of positivity.
But Hodgson knows he will need too see an improvement from his men to win in Switzerland on Monday and to get the crowds flocking back to Wembley again.
Rooney admitted that England “could have done better” after they narrowly edged out Norway.
Following their disappointing World Cup campaign where they exited at the group stage, Rooney admitted his performance had been lacklustre.
“I thought I could have done better. We all could have done better,” said Rooney.
“It’s a night, first game after the World Cup and it was important that we got the win tonight, especially going into the game on Monday. In the first half we moved quite well but they made it difficult for us and sat back and created a few opprtunities in the first half.
“In the second half we started really sloppy and that was disappointing as we wanted to go out and really take the game to them.”
“We got the win in the end and there are a lot of young players in this team and we will learn. They are still learning.”
England manager Hodgson took positives from the way his young side responded to a change in approach midway through the second half.
He said: “The injection of pace of Danny Welbeck, Fabian Delph and (James) Milner and a slight change in the system we got back on top again and started to create chances.
“In the end I thought we were good value for our victory.
“The good thing with the players we have at the moment, and there were three out there making debuts today, is that many are playing early matches in their international career and it’s good that we have these options.
“We definitely changed the way we were playing in terms of system with about 20-25 minutes to go and I thought that worked well too when Welbeck came in behind Sturridge.
“I thought that got us going as well and in the end with a little bit of luck we would have aggravated the score. The important thing was the victory.”
Despite his positive outlook, Hodgson knows there is plenty still to work on.
“We started the second half poorly and I was disappointed by our first 10-15 minutes at the start of the second half and Joe (Hart) had to make a couple of saves having been pretty much a bystander in the first half,” he added. “But luckily we got ourselves going again.”