Tonight’s match programme. There could only be one cover star.
Gareth Southgate makes five changes from the XI that started the 3-1 win over Italy last month. Trent Alexander-Arnold is named in midfield alongside Conor Gallagher and Jordan Henderson, while Marc Guéhi and Fikayo Tomori come into the defence. Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips and Kyle Walker drop to the bench, while Jude Bellingham and John Stones miss out through injury.
England: Pickford, Trippier, Maguire, Guehi, Tomori, Alexander-Arnold, Gallagher, Henderson, Foden, Kane, Rashford.
Subs: Johnstone, Lewis, Saka, Ramsdale, Phillips, Rice, Grealish, Walker, Konsa, Palmer, Watkins, Bowen.
Malta: Bonello, Steve Borg, Pepe, Jean Borg, Joseph Mbong, Yankam, Guillaumier, Teuma, Camenzuli, Paul Mbong, Reid.
Subs: Matthew Grech, Kristensen, Nwoko, Overend, Jones, Al-Tumi, Zach Muscat, Shaw, Attard, Stephen Pisani, Nicky Muscat, Apap.
Referee: Luis Godinho (Portugal).
Let’s not oversell this. England can secure top spot in Group C, and with it top-seed status at the Euro 2024 draw, if they get at least a point against Malta at Wembley tonight. Having already beaten the Maltese 4-0 at their gaff in Ta’Qali earlier this year, and with a historical record against them of played six, won six, scored 18, conceded one, they’re going to get that point. If they don’t win, your humble MBM scribe will eat their hat, in the time-honoured style of well-lubricated 1930s BBC announcer Lieutenant-Commander Thomas Woodrooffe. This as-good-as-dead rubber kicks off at 7.45pm GMT. It’s on, just about.