England v Malta: Pictures
Despite failing to provide the goal fest fans came to Wembley expecting England were comfortable winners against Malta. An own goal from Enrico Pepe after just eight minutes gave the hosts a foothold in the game, but they failed to seal the victory until Harry Kane struck a second 15 minutes from time.
Marcus Rashford failed to threaten the Malta goal before being replaced by debutant Cole Palmer, while boss Gareth Southgate will need to make a decision over Jordan Henderson after another lacklustre display.
Here are the Express Sport player ratings:
Jordan Pickford 6
Largely a spectator and never troubled against a Malta forward line who failed to threaten after the opening few minutes when he was almost found wanting.
Kieran Trippier 6
Helped England keep a clean sheet and was rarely troubled at the back. Could have provided his side with more assistance going forwards with Phil Foden
Marc Guehi 7
Had very little to do in the England defence with his side dominating possession in midfield and Malta providing little threat. Could have open up play ahead of him more.
Harry Maguire 6
Recovered from an early error which allowed Paul Mbong a shot at range which flew over the crossbar. Some of his distribution was wayward of its intended target.
Fikayo Tomori 5
Substituted at half-time after struggling at left-back during the first half. Picked up a 27th minute booking after catching Yannick Yankam with a sliding tackle.
Bukayo Saka 6
Played his role in England’s second goal with a nice through ball to Foden who fed Harry Kane.
Trent Alexander-Arnold 6
Had England’s first shot on target after 63 minutes after the ball fell kindly to him. However, the Liverpool player struck straight at the goalkeeper.
Jordan Henderson 5
Question marks will remain whether Henderson deserves to keeper his place in Gareth Southgate’s side. Another lacklustre performance will not have silences the doubters, and the England boss needs to tackle the burning issue of whether his levels are waning due to a lack of weekly competitive test.
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Declan Rice 7
Gave England the boost they needed after coming on as a substitute before having a fine individual effort ruled out by VAR.
Conor Gallagher 6
Almost gave the visitors a first minute lead after getting caught on the ball and giving it away to Teddy Teuma who shot just wide. Substituted at half-time for Kyle Walker.
Kyle Walker 6
Helped to stir England into life during the second half in a slightly improved performance but will have expected more joy.
Phil Foden 7
One of the shining lights in a poor England display and created the only goal on 13 minutes driving into the box before his cross to Harry Kane was put into the Malta net by covering defender Enrico Pepe.
Harry Kane 7
Felt he deserved a first half penalty after the Bayern Munich striker looked to have been felled inside the box. Eventually got his goal with just his fifth touch of the game finishing a well worked England move.
Marcus Rashford 5
Largely ineffective in a sub-standard opening hour for England in which they should have created more chances against a poor Malta side.
Cole Palmer 6
Came on after 61 minutes and almost had a goal on his England debut showing quick feet as he raced into the box before seeing his effort blocked.
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