Phil Foden shone as England made hard work of beating Malta 2-0 at Wembley.

With Gareth Southgate’s side already qualified for next summer’s European Championships, the hosts were expected to coast home against the side ranked 171 in the world.

However, it proved anything but a walk in the park, with Malta competitive and adventurous from the start.

Foden, the only City player named in the starting XI, provided the energy and spark that led to the only goal of the first 45 minutes.

With just eight minutes played, the City forward span away from his marker, drove into the Malta box and his attempted pull-back into the middle was turned into his own net by Pepe.

Foden continued to impress when given the opportunity, though there were no further goals in what had been an underwhelming opening period.

Kyle Walker, winning cap number 80, was introduced at the start of the second half, replacing Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher, with Foden switching from the flank to a more central role.

England had to wait until the 74th minute to double the lead, with Walker finding Foden who in turn fed Bukayo Saka and his low cross was turned in by skipper Harry Kane.

Declan Rice had a goal ruled out by VAR 93 seconds later as England stepped up the pace.

In truth, a third would have flattered England who were far from their best in front of a sell-out Wembley crowd.

On a night of few plusses for the Three Lions, Foden was the standout performer,

City’s Jack Grealish, Kalvin Phillips, and Rico Lewis were all unused subs.