Gareth Southgate praises England players for courage in Malta win

by Joy Montgomery September 3, 2017, 16:15
Gareth Southgate praises England players for courage in Malta win

However, Southgate refused to be too critical by claiming that his players did a "professional" job as England took a step closer to qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

Dele Alli unmarked his team-mate Harry Kane who slotted the ball home for England's first goal as England coach Southgate sighed in relief.

The game went into its final 5 regulation minutes, where the Brit began to score more goals.

However, from that point on till the second minute of time added on and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's scuffed shot the Malta goalkeeper didn't have another save to make.

It took the Three Lions a while to click into gear against the worldwide minnows but they were always too strong for the home side and took all three points thanks to a brace from Harry Kane plus further goals from Ryan Bertrand and Danny Welbeck.

England play Slovakia at Wembley on Monday.

With three games remaining, unbeaten England lead Group F by two points from Slovakia and victory on Monday at Wembley would nearly certainly secure at least a play-off spot for next year's finals in Russian Federation.

England had laboured to a 2-0 win against Malta almost a year ago, yet could have matched their meagre goal tally at Wembley inside five minutes of the return fixture in Attard.

Southgate was pleased to see his players remain calm against stubborn opposition, an approach that paid off when they scored three goals past a exhausted Malta side in the closing stages.

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"Whenever you come away - games like this - it's never going to be easy from the start", he said.

England forward Harry Kane had his say as vast numbers of fans took to social media to acknowledge the strikers inability to score throughout the month of August.

It was all a bit staccato from England for 85-odd minutes in Malta on Friday night but Gareth Southgate's troops stuck at it and the stoic hosts eventually ran out of puff.

Southgate acted at half-time to remedy the lacklustre performance and took off Sterling sending on Manchester United youngster Marcus Rashford instead.

The win took Gareth Southgate's side one step closer to next summer's World Cup in Russian Federation, but the Three Lions were made to work for the points against a stubborn Maltese side.

Kane, however, defended the 46-year-old's tactics.

Southgate paid tribute to Kane and said: "He's proven that in the last few matches".

"But part of keeping the ball is tiring the opposition and your goals end up coming late". "Everyone knows what kind of talent Gazza was, but it's about setting little goals - so five goals, 10 goals".

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