England beat Malta 4-0 in Friday night’s World Cup Qualifier – but it wasn’t straightforward for Gareth Southgate’s side.
Three of the goals came after the 85th minute as Harry Kane (2), Ryan Bertrand and Danny Welbeck found the target to take England a step closer to a place at next summer’s World Cup in Russia.
Sky Sports expert Alan Smith commentated on the match – and he gave each of England’s players a rating out of 10…
Joe Hart – 6
Joe Hart had very little to do – Malta only had a couple of shots which went wide of the mark – so it’s hard to give him a rating. It was always likely to be a fairly straightforward game for him and so it proved, though I’d expect a tougher test against Slovakia on Monday night. You can’t really give him more than six, as he didn’t do anything!
Kyle Walker – 6
Kyle was not his usual marauding self. Defensively he didn’t have a great deal to do against the Malta attack and he didn’t go forward to great effect – at least not as much as he usually does.
Ryan Bertrand – 8
The goal apart, Ryan Bertrand had a really accomplished game and got very involved on the left-hand side. He used the ball really well and it was a very mature performance. I don’t think he expected to score when he took his shot on, but he gave it a go and he deserved to score for his overall display.
Gary Cahill – 7
Gary Cahill and Phil Jones had Malta’s attacker’s all tied up. There were one or two anxious moments, but overall it was a fairly straightforward night for the central defenders.
Phil Jones – 7
I will give Jones the same score as Cahill. As hard as Malta fought, the England defence didn’t give them a sniff. Jones has started the season well with Manchester United and seems to have an extra bit of fitness that he doesn’t always have. That only comes with playing every week for his club and he looked nice and sharp.
Jake Livermore – 7
With Eric Dier suspended, England are short on holding midfielders. I thought Jake Livermore did the simple things well, but he had a lot of space as Malta dropped deep. He nicked the ball back a couple of times to stop counter-attacks and it was a decent defensive performance.
Jordan Henderson – 8
I thought the captain did well. He was always talking to his team-mates and was always trying to move the ball forwards, though he didn’t try to do anything too difficult. It was a positive display from the Liverpool man.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6
I thought Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain struggled a little bit. He saw a lot of the ball in the first half and didn’t always use it as well as he might have. It has obviously been a very busy week for him and maybe the move to Liverpool was on his mind. He needs to do more than what he showed and I’m surprised he didn’t get brought off sooner.
Raheem Sterling – 5
Finishing is one aspect of Raheem Sterling’s game that needs to be sharpened up. He had an excellent early chance and I really think he should have taken it. I can’t understand why he took a touch. After that, the game was tight, and nothing was really coming off for him. It wasn’t the best of nights.
Dele Alli – 7
The game was highly congested in the middle and that made it hard going for most of the night. Thankfully he’s such a clever player and had the presence of mind, when he couldn’t get a shot away himself, to pick out Harry Kane for the opening goal. That was such an important moment on the night.
Harry Kane – 9
Forget about his goals and his assist tonight, his all-round play makes him so important to the England team. He has touch and awareness which is first-class and he is just one of the best centre-forwards in the world now.
Sub: Marcus Rashford – 8
I know this was a game against Malta, but there is still pressure when you play for England and this boy just doesn’t get fazed by anything. He came on at half-time and straight away he got down the left and beat his man three times on the trot. He has a turn of pace and a trick that leaves opponents standing. It was a lovely pass for Kane’s second and I was impressed.
Sub: Jamie Vardy – 7
Jamie Vardy came on with a bit of energy for the closing stages. He did what substitutes are supposed to do and ran around, causing a nuisance. He won the ball back well to help start the move for Kane’s second.
Sub: Danny Welbeck – 7
Danny was busy when he came on in the closing stages and his finish for his goal was a good one. He seems to have the knack of scoring goals for his country… Arsenal fans will be wondering why he doesn’t finish like that for his club! He is a good man to have in reserve to come on.
See highlights of England’s game against Slovakia from 10pm on Monday night on Sky Sports Football.
If you are using skysports.com you can comment below to get involved in the debate, but please adhere to our House Rules. If you wish to report any comment, simply click on the down arrow next to the offending comment and click ‘Report’.
September 4, 2017, 10:00pm
Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass