Late flurry adds gloss to laboured England win in Malta

Late flurry adds gloss to laboured England win in Malta

Late flurry adds gloss to laboured England win in Malta

Moments after failing to connect from five yards out, Welbeck, on as a second-half sub, made sure he was on the end of the next one, beating the onrushing goalkeeper to Kane's smart cross to clip over into an empty net. Within the squad of players we've got, we've got real competition for places in every area of the field, os you have to earn the right to get in the squad, and then get in the team.

Victory against Malta, ranked 190th in the world, should be a formality and Kane accepts that given England's resources, they will not get much credit for anything they achieve in qualifying. Two of the most in-form England players are missing, however.

Ryan Bertrand added a second from range after 85 minutes before Danny Welbeck and a second from Kane sealed a rather flattering score line for the away side who retain a two point lead at the summit of Group F. England could do with the next one coming against Slovakia on Monday evening.

There was some surprise that Southgate named Hart as his goalkeeper despite the 30-year-old being England's longstanding No 1.

Hart does not have the highest of confidence and he has conceded 10 goals from just three Premier League games with the Hammers this season as Slaven Bilic's men have failed to pick up a point in the Premier League yet. With Southgate stressing that he has "seen nothing" in the early stages of the season to axe his goalkeeper, will Butland get the chance to show what he can do in the role against Slovakia or will the debate move on to the next worldwide break?

(Image) Davide Zappacosta pictured ahead of his flight to seal Chelsea move
And now, In an official club statement Torino have confirmed Zappacosta has left the club and has signed for Antonio Conte's side. It has emerged the Premier League champions are pushing for the Italian and hope a deal can be secured well before the deadline.

Jordan Henderson and Alli also threatened before Phil Jones saw a goal chalked off as the first-half performance became increasingly cumbersome.

Yet after a such a lively start, England laboured for the remainder of the first half, failing to match the tempo set by the incessant supporters' band inside the ground. Southgate might feel a little nearer to knowing his central defensive partnership.

And yet, as Schembri still threatened, it still felt like England needed a second to be certain.

Henderson will be in central midfield with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain playing a wide role after Southgate suggested he sees him more on the flanks than in the middle for England. Marcus Rashford came on, but Malta were actually only stepping up.

Related news