Football Features

Malta 0-4 England: Player ratings as Trent Alexander-Arnold shines in midfield role

By Ben Green

Malta england ratings copy

Published: 21:39, 16 June 2023 | Updated: 18:40, 19 June 2023

England have consolidated their position at the top of the Group C table in the Euro 2024 qualifiers after beating Malta 4-0.

The job was done within the first half-hour as Gareth Southgate’s men put three past Maltese ‘keeper Henry Bonello, with strikes from Harry Kane and Trent Alexander-Arnold following an own goal from Ferdinando Apap. Callum Wilson added a coup de grace from the penalty spot in the 83rd minute.

Here is how the players rated at the National Stadium in Ta’ Qali:

Malta

Henry Bonello – 5 – A difficult but expected game for Malta’s No. 1 who pulled off a series of strong saves, but had a few shaky moments, not least parrying Rice’s shot back into dangerous play for Kane to draw a penalty 30 minutes in.

Ferdinando Apap – 4 – Really struggled to keep his composure and stand firm against a world-class attacking threat, knocking the ball into his own net early on with Kane breathing down his neck.

Steve Borg – 4 – Produced a string of blocks and interceptions to thwart plenty of England attacks, but ultimately the Malta’s defence proved too porous, and it was the skipper’s handball that led to England’s fourth.

Zach Muscat – 5 – Another who put his body on the line and threw himself into everything, but again, Malta were unable to muzzle England’s formidable attack.

Joseph Mbong – 5 – Got stuck in with a collection of challenges on Maddison and had a few bursting runs forward, but he was never going to get the better of Shaw.

Bjorn Kristensen – 4 – Malta’s midfield really struggled to stamp their mark on the contest, with the Rice-Henderson-TAA triumvirate dictating the tempo.

Matthew Guillaumier – 3 – Struggled to get into the game as England naturally enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, before recklessly hacking down Kane for England’s penalty. He was ultimately hooked at half time.

Teddy Teuma – 6 – Malta’s best player alongside Jones, with both providing their side with rare moments of respite. The French-born midfielder was playing in the Europa League this season with Belgian side Union Saint-Gilloise, and you could tell. His quality was evident when on the ball in an otherwise frustrating night.

Cain Attard – 4 – Struggled to contain Saka, who had him on toast in that first half as he consistently span in behind and looked to give him the slip.

Kyrian Nwoko – 4 – Anonymous in attack as Jones was left to do most of the heavy lifting himself.

Jodi Jones – 6 – The London-born attacker put in a very solid shift with his hold up play and dribbling ability. He was undoubtedly Malta’s best player on the night with Teuma, as the duo looked to carry the nation forward.

Substitutes:

Yannick Yankam (for Guillaumier 45′) – 6 – Looked driven and determined when he came on the pitch to try and frustrate England.

Nikolai Muscat (for Kristensen 60′) – 6 – Added a grit to beef up the midfield and renew the energy for a tiring Malta side.

Alexander Satariano (for Nwoko 60′) – 6 – Produced a number of neat touches and turns to offer some semblance of threat for the hosts.

Jurgen Degabriele (for Jones 76′) – N/A – Came on for the final 15 minutes.

Juan Carlos Corbalan (for Attard 87′) – N/A – Came on for the last five minutes.

England

Jordan Pickford – 6 – A spectator for much of the game as England asserted their dominance early on — and kept it up throughout the 90 minutes.

Kieran Trippier – 7 – Strong in the challenge and always happy to surge forward when given the opportunity which, in this contest, was often.

Harry Maguire – 7 – Aerially dominant when Malta pinged the ball forward and looked to hit their attackers in those rare moments. In truth, Maguire’s job here was to recycle the ball rather than dealing with Malta’s forwards on a consistent basis, such was England’s dominance.

Marc Guehi – 7 – Similar to Maguire, the duo formed an impressive partnership to hold the fort and neutralise Malta’s fleeting threats. A strong showing.

Luke Shaw – 7 – Hugged the touchline and charged forward in his typically attacking self. The Man Utd defender was quick to snuff out danger on the rare occasions Malta got the ball, and never needed a second invitation to get forward.

Declan Rice – 8 – A beacon of consistency and tranquility in the heart of midfield. Rice orbited the centre circle and controlled the pace, while setting out fires when Malta broke up play and looked to get forward on those very few occasions. Southgate needed a no-nonsense anchor to balance his tactical brother, and Rice brought that.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 9 – Exceptional as an advanced playmaker. Fans have been championing and clamouring for the marauding full-back to be deployed in midfield, such is his technical ability and end product, and they were given a taste of talents tonight as he produced defence-splitting passes for fun and rocketed home England’s second on the night.

Jordan Henderson – 8 – Selfless and tireless, England’s silent workhorse manned the engine room with merit, keeping the tempo high paced and relentless on a deflated Malta midfield. As is paramount with his game, Henderson produced nothing mesmeric, but his diligence and tenacity laid the foundations for England’s success up front.

Bukayo Saka – 8 – Persistently got in behind Malta’s backline with those blink-of-the-eye turns. Saka was deceptive with his movement, standing suspended one moment, then sprinting with blurry-eyed pace the next. It was that sequence of play that broke the deadlock as he spun his man to collect TAA’s superb pass, before crossing for an Apap own goal.

James Maddison – 7 – A bright spark with his delectable touches and turns. The prodigious playmaker produced a showreel of pirouettes, dummies and shimmies as he looked to create and make things happen for England.

Harry Kane – 7 – Clinical and cool from 12 yards, as he so often is. Kane cut a frustrated figure for that opening sequence of play as Malta set up in a predicted low block, but when asked to slot the ball into the back of the net, of course he didn’t disappoint. From there, he dropped deep and linked play exceptionally well to keep England’s fluidity and pace at a high level.

Substitutes:

Phil Foden (for Saka 45′) – 7 – Brought a renewed zip and attacking finesse to England’s attack upon his introduction.

Callum Wilson (for Kane 59′) – 7 – Won and tucked home a penalty for The Three Lions, which is his bread and butter.

Marcus Rashford (for Henderson 59′) – 6 – Showed a few flashes of quality and trouble the Maltese defence with his bustling runs.

Tyrone Mings (for Shaw 59′) – 6 – Held firm in a quiet night for England’s defence.

Eberechi Eze (forMaddison 69′) – 6 – The quality was there when he entered the fray with some very dazzling touches and silky movement.

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