England v Malta

Published by on September 1, 2017
England should take another big step towards the World Cup as they travel for Malta for the first fixture of the international break. 
 
Gareth Southgate's men are expected to make light work of the minnows, who have lost all six of their last competitive games. 
 
For the Three Lions, the main significance of the game is that it marks the official start of life without Wayne Rooney. The Everton star's role in the international camp had been dwindling anyway, but he has now formally retired to focus on domestic football. 
 
With the mantle of his captaincy set to fall on Harry Kane, there will be added pressure on the striker, who is enduring a difficult run with Tottenham. 
 
The 24-year-old is the favourite to score first despite keeping up his record of never having found the back of the net in the Premier League in August. Kane is at 2/1, though it's fair to say Malta are a level below what he has been coming up against in the games against Newcastle, Chelsea, and Burnley. 
 
Raheem Sterling may be a safer bet at 11/2 after scoring two goals in two games for Manchester City. 
 
England are odds on to win by three or more goals which just sums up the gulf in class between the two sides. It has been known for them to underwhelm in games like this where they should cruise, but a better test will come against Slovakia on Monday at Wembley.