England boss makes his stance on Joe Hart clear

Tottenham duo Dele Alli and Harry Kane battle for the ball during a possession drill

Tottenham duo Dele Alli and Harry Kane battle for the ball during a possession drill

They are very good at grinding out these games, but rarely win impressively as they are reliant on the likes of Shane Long and Jon Walters as they try to find another Robbie Keane.

Prior to kick-off, Malta, ranked 190th in the world tied with Liechtenstein, had conceded an average of 2.9 goals goals per game in their 10 previous World Cup qualifiers.

With five minutes to play Bertrand sealed the win for England with his first worldwide goal, as his effort from 25 yards bounced under Hogg.

Jordan Henderson, captain for the night following Rooney's retirement, found Raheem Sterling inside the first minute but the Manchester City winger was blocked by Malta goalkeeper Matthew Hogg. Yet Hart still has the backing of his national team manager for the time being and if everything goes according to plan, will keep his place when Slovakia visit Wembley on Monday. England did their best to improve that ratio for them in a desperately poor first-half showing.

With the Manchester United wide man more willing to run at defenders, England finally made an opening and Dele Alli teed up Harry Kane to fire home an angled shot.

Can Eagles now beat Cameroon when it matters most?
Algeria, who have qualified for the last two World Cups, are in Lusaka to face Zambia on Saturday. Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi also withdrew from the squad on Sunday with a thigh problem.

The best thing that can probably be said about England is that they won convincingly in the end thanks to the late flurry of goals that saw them score three times in the closing exchanges.

The top scorer for the past two seasons in the Premier League collected a short pass from club teammate Dele Alli in the area and slotted home a finish from 10 meters in the 53rd minute, for his ninth worldwide goal in 20 appearances.

After a disappointing first half, Southgate responded by introducing Marcus Rashford for the frustrated Sterling as he searched for a breakthrough. On the contrary, he is still No1 in Southgate's eyes, and it is not being disparaging to think Malta might be obliging opponents for a goalkeeper who has not kept a clean sheet in his last 23 club games, stretching back to Torino's 0-0 draw against Sassuolo on 8 January.

Bertrand's long-range strike - his first worldwide goal - added gloss five minutes before time, beginning a Malta collapse that soon saw Welbeck and Kane score.

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