England secured a 2-0 victory over Malta at Wembley, but the match’s focal point was the pre-game tributes to the late Sir Bobby Charlton. Gareth Southgate’s team struggled, with Marcus Rashford and Jordan Henderson facing challenges. Phil Foden showcased his significance, contributing to a lackluster performance that saw Harry Kane’s late goal salvage the win.
Despite Rashford’s recent success with the national team, he appeared frustrated and suffered an early collision, leading to his substitution. Henderson’s presence in midfield was criticized, and England improved after Declan Rice replaced him. Young talent Cole Palmer impressed, emphasizing the need for his earlier inclusion.
Phil Foden’s versatility was evident as he operated in different positions, contributing consistently. The controversial decision against Harry Kane’s penalty appeal added to the night’s challenges, but Kane ultimately extended his goal-scoring record.
Skipper on the scoresheet ✔️
— England (@England) November 18, 2023
Southgate defended his team’s approach, emphasizing the players’ self-regulation amid a demanding schedule.
While acknowledging the team fell short of its peak, Southgate focused on securing a top seeding for the Euro 2024 draw. Despite missing key players like Jude Bellingham and Jack Grealish, England’s victory ensures their favorable position in the upcoming draw, barring an unlikely defeat to North Macedonia.