Gareth Southgate’s stint as England manager got off to the perfect start as he watched his side brush past Malta at Wembley Stadium.
Daniel Sturridge’s powerful header from Jordan Henderson’s cross opened the scoring just before the half-hour mark, before Dele Alli scrambled home a second seven minutes before the break.
And Malta goalkeeper Andrew Hogg kept the score respectable by producing fine saves to thwart Dele, captain Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott and debutant Jesse Lingard.
England 2-0 Malta
2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier
Saturday 8 October 2016
Wembley Stadium connected by EE
Live on ITV
England have maximum points from both World Cup qualifiers and travel to Slovenia on Tuesday for their next test.
Southgate said: "We played well in the first half. We could and should have had more goals but their goalkeeper made some very good saves.
"Of course we would have liked to have given the fans four or five goals but Malta in their last qualifying campaign had 1-0 defeats against Croatia and Italy. Their goalkeeper played well, they defended in heavy numbers but we still created a lot of chances and could have won it by more.
"We could have moved the ball more quickly and we have to keep focused and make sure we’re not caught in counter attacks but Slovenia will be very different. Malta played a 5-4-1 formation which was always going to be difficult to break down; we managed it but we can improve.
"My job is to get the results that keep us at the top of the group. We’ve achieved that and I know people will have wanted more but now we have to go to Slovenia and get that win."
Southgate singled out Manchester United forward Lingard for special praise, after the 23-year-old produced another strong display at the national stadium.
The Three Lions boss added: "Jesse had an outstanding debut, he really linked the play well and looked a real threat.
"That’s why we wanted to give him the start – he’s got a real strong mentality, he’s an exciting young player and the stage was made for him really.
"He’s enjoyed Wembley – he’s scored twice here in the past for Manchester United and he had a very good game."
Southgate & Sturridge speak to FATV after the game