Harry Kane criticises England after Malta win as Gareth Southgate makes feelings clear

Harry Kane England Malta

Harry Kane has admitted England were 'sloppy' as they beat Malta at Wembley on Friday night

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 18/11/2023

- 08:10

The forward scored in a 2-0 victory at Wembley on Friday night

Harry Kane has admitted England were 'sloppy' during the first half against Malta.

However, the Three Lions skipper was happy with the result after propelling his country to yet another win.

England took the lead in the eighth minute of the match at Wembley when Enrico Pepe put the ball into his own net following good work from Phil Foden.

And Kane then made the result safe in the 75th minute, with the Bayern Munich star netting his 62nd international goal in the process.

England Harry Kane Malta

England hitman Harry Kane scored his side's second goal in their Euro 2024 qualifying win over Malta


England were, however, surprisingly flat.

Certainly, it wasn't a display that will strike fears into their Euro 2024 rivals as the start of that tournament creeps closer.

And Kane has criticised England for their first half showing, admitting they were 'sloppy'.

“It was not our finest performance, let’s say, but sometimes you play a team who have got more quality than people think," stated the 30-year-old.

“At the start of the game, we missed the right tempo. We were sloppy and we couldn’t quite build.

“In the second half we had more control and created chances. But overall, it’s a 2-0 win.”

England boss Gareth Southgate also spoke after his side made it six qualifying wins from a possible seven.

A draw against Ukraine in September remains the only fixture they've been unable to win.

And Southgate, while admitting England weren't at their best, insists there's no reason to panic.

"We didn't start well," said the 53-year-old.

“I’ve been in football for 35 years and if you don’t start well, it’s really difficult to pick it up.

“We needed, of course, to show better quality with the ball but also we were a bit stretched without it and a little bit disjointed in our pressing at times.

“We were not the level we would want to be at. We were not the level that we need to be at.

“But, equally, this group of players have been exceptional and I’m not going to start getting into their ribs too much about a performance like tonight.

“We made a few changes, we didn’t hit the levels we would have liked to have but they managed to win the game.

“Not in the style we’d have liked for the supporters but, in the end, we’ve won comfortably, as we should.”

And Southgate also singled out Trent Alexander-Arnold for praise, insisting the Liverpool star was 'outstanding' on the night.

“He has got outstanding quality," added the England boss.

"He and Phil [Foden] were the two in the first half that looked like opening the game up for us.

“Marc Guehi was good at the back and the changes brought more quality.


England news Gareth Southgate Malta

England boss Gareth Southgate refused to criticise his players despite their flat performance in Malta win


"They don’t lose by fives and sixes and obviously, we didn’t create as many chances as we’d like to.”

England are next in action against North Macedonia on Monday night.

And the Three Lions will be hoping for a repeat of what happened when they locked horns with the minnows back in June.

England ran out 7-0 winners, with Kane bagging a brace and Bukayo Saka netting a hat-trick.

Marcus Rashford and Kalvin Phillips also found the net as Southgate's side secured all three points.

You may like