Interim manager Gareth Southgate heaped praise on Jesse Lingard following his ‘outstanding’ England debut.
A disruptive fortnight was followed by a straightforward evening at Wembley, where Malta proved as much of a test as their world ranking of 176th suggested.
Daniel Sturridge and Dele Alli netted in a win far more comprehensive than the 2-0 scoreline suggests, with Southgate’s reign getting off to a solid if unspectacular start.
And Lingard was one of the highlights for the caretaker boss, as the 23-year-old impressed on his first senior appearance after being selected in the starting line-up ahead of Manchester United team-mate Marcus Rashford.
“I’ve got to look at how Slovenia played and see what’s better suited for the game,” Southgate said when asked if Rashford could come in for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier in Ljubljana.
“I think in terms of the decisions we made, Jesse Lingard came in and was outstanding.
“He linked the play really well and showed really good creativity at times. His links with Dele and Danny (Rose) on that side of the pitch were really, really exciting.”