GARETH SOUTHGATE’S brave lions turned on the flare in the second half after an uninspiring first 45 minutes.
England remain unbeaten in their Euro 2024 qualifiers after they breezed past Malta 2-0.
GettyConor Gallagher was subbed at half-time[/caption]
PAHarry Kane secured the win for the Three Lions[/caption]
It was a typically controlled performance from England with a slow first half seeing an early own goal by Malta defender Enrico Pepe be the only difference at the break.
But after some tactical changes from the waistcoat wearing gaffer his men looked far more lively and added a second goal through Harry Kane.
Here’s how SunSport rated the players’ performances:
Jordan Pickford – 6
Did what he needed to do when he was called upon, but was hardly asked to make a save. Hard to imagine a Southgate side without Pickford barking at his defenders in between the sticks.
Kieran Trippier – 6
Nothing amazing, but nothing terrible from the experienced professional. Started the game at right-back, but was shifted to the left at half time.
Fikayo Tomori – 5
The AC Milan man looked like a centre-back playing at left-back… because he was. Hooked at half time for Bukayo Saka to allow a switch that put Trippier at left-back.
GettyFikayo Tomori struggled at left-back[/caption]
Marc Guehi – 7
The Eagles captain looked cool, calm and collected at the back and helped sweep up any trouble caused by the players in front of him. Southgate may have to look at partnering him alongside John Stones in the future.
Harry Maguire – 5
Despite his recent form for the Red Devils, Maguire struggled with the ball at his feet. Made several sloppy passed that allowed Malta to run at the England back line. Looked better in the second half.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8
Had to deal with constant bites from the Malta players who couldn’t handle his movement in midfield. He was pulling the strings in the middle of the park for Southgate’s men. Perhaps Jurgen Klopp should think about moving him up.
Conor Gallagher – 4
Gave the ball away in the first minute to allow Malta a dangerous chance form the off and never really recovered. Kept putting his teammates in trouble with sloppy passes. Yanked off at the break for Kyle Walker.
Jordan Henderson – 6
Pretty passive, but he’s typically a quiet customer. Did his job of moving the ball around well in midfield. Still got some stick from small pockets of the crowd when he was subbed off though.
Phil Foden – 8
Shone from the off with his mazy runs and dancing feet. His burst forward led to the own goal that opened the scoring when his cross was turned in by Enrico Pepe. While he was involved in the build up for Kane’s goal too.
AFPPhil Foden stood out on a pretty slow night of football[/caption]
Marcus Rashford – 5
Struggled in the first half with no actual full-back behind him. Subbed off early in the second half after a collision with Alexander-Arnold. Not on fine form with Manchester United and struggling with England too.
Harry Kane – 7
Booked for diving, but you can’t hold it against him since he appeared to be blatantly fouled. A typical Harry Kane performance with a poachers goal to boot.
ReutersHarry Kane was booked for diving despite what seemed to be a clear penalty[/caption]
GettyThe England captain was brought down by Malta shot-stopper Henry Bonello[/caption]
Bukayo Saka (HT for Tomori) – 7
Always scaring defenders when he’s on the wing and did well to put it on a plate for Harry Kane to make it 2-0.
Kyle Walker (HT for Gallagher) – 6
Walker’s subsitution allowed England to play with two proper full-backs. The treble-winning star always looks good in an England shirt.
Declan Rice (60 for Henderson) – 7
A superb solo goal from the Arsenal man would have topped off an engine like performance if not for VAR. A powerful run was finished off with a curling effort, but the ball glanced the side of an offside Kane.
Cole Palmer (60 for Rashford) – 5
Perhaps nervous with it being his debut Palmer wasn’t able to make his mark immediately, but had a few nice moments in added time. He will hope he can have a go again on Monday against North Macedonia.
GettyDeclan Rice saw his stunner ruled out for offside[/caption]
APCole Palmer made his England debut[/caption]