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Gareth Southgates reign as interim England manager began with a 2-0 victory over Malta in Saturdays World Cup qualifier at Wembley. Jordan Clarkson Jersey . Southgate, in temporary charge after Sam Allardyces departure last week, watched as Daniel Sturridge headed the opener in the first half, with Dele Alli dispatching their second before a quiet second half.Here, we pick out five talking points from a solid but unspectacular victory for the Three Lions… Southgate makes winning startA few weeks ago Gareth Southgate was expecting to spend the international break preparing for the U21s meetings with Kazakhstan and Bosnia and Herzegovina, but Allardyces sudden departure has thrust him into an unfamiliar role, and he can have few complaints about his first game in charge. Gareth Southgate speaks to Sky Sports after Englands 2-0 win over Malta It was not the thrashing many people had anticipated, but England could hardly have been more comfortable. Eighty per cent possession and 20 shots to Maltas one highlighted their dominance, and their two-goal half-time lead allowed them to coast through the second period and conserve their energy for Tuesdays trip to Slovenia.A meeting with Malta is unlikely to have much bearing on whether Southgate gets the job on a permanent basis, but its a platform to build on and the 46-year-old was pleased with the result. I thought we did some very good things, he told Sky Sports. After a difficult 10 days, for them to play like they did in the first half was pleasing. Theres a lot more to come.Henderson pulls the stringsJordan Henderson has made a strong start to the season with Liverpool and his impressive form continued at Wembley. The 26-year-old was deployed in his usual deep-lying midfield role, but that didnt stop him being Englands main creative outlet. Liverpools Jordan Henderson was named man-of-the-match He carved Malta open with a string of accurate long-range passes in the first half, setting up Jesse Lingard for a glorious chance before providing the assist for his club team-mate Sturridge to score the opener. He was heavily involved in the second goal, too, bursting into the box and teeing up Alli to find the net at the second attempt. Henderson the creator Jordan Henderson created four goalscoring chances against Malta - twice as many as any other player on the pitch. Henderson was a peripheral figure at Euro 2016, but recent evidence suggests he may be worthy of a more prominent role in the national side. Southgate will have been impressed by what he saw.Rooney returns to midfield Rooney may not have a future in Manchester Uniteds midfield but he was back in the middle of the park for Southgates first game in charge of the national team - just as he was under Allardyce against Slovakia. Wayne Rooney returned to Englands midfield at Wembley He saw plenty of the ball, taking 170 touches and completing 133 passes, but his contribution was minimal compared to his midfield partner Henderson, and he was also fortunate to avoid punishment for a studs-up challenge on Malta captain Andre Schembri in the first half.Englands midfield was rarely troubled in a defensive sense by the Group F minnows, but with Eric Dier waiting in the wings, Rooney offered little to suggest he would merit a place in the starting line-up against stronger opposition.Sturridge makes his caseSturridge only played eight minutes of Englands opening group game against Slovakia last month, so he will have been pleased to mark his return to the starting line-up with a goal against Malta. Daniel Sturridge scored from Jordan Hendersons cross in the first half The Liverpool man made the most of slack marking to guide Hendersons cross into the net, and he would have added to his tally were it not for a combination of wasteful finishing and impressive goalkeeping by Maltas Andrew Hogg.All in all, though, it was a good nights work for the 27-year-old. England have real competition for places in attack, but Harry Kanes injury has given Sturridge a chance to stake his claim. He will be hoping to keep his place in the team over Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford against Slovenia.Tougher tests to comeThe result was never in doubt here, but Southgates credentials will be more strongly tested on Tuesday night in Ljubljana. The Three Lions needed an 86th-minute winner from Rooney on their last trip to the Slovenian capital in June 2015, and it will be another tricky test this time around. Maltas Alfred Effiong controls the ball under pressure from Wayne Rooney and John Stones Southgate may still be in place when England welcome old foes Scotland to Wembley in a months time, and then theres the prospect of a showpiece friendly against Julen Lopeteguis Spain. Southgate and his players put the Allardyce affair behind them with Saturdays easy win over Malta, but there are far more difficult tests ahead.You can watch Englands tour of Bangladesh, plus Premier League football and the Japan Grand Prix on Sky Sports. Upgrade now and enjoy three months at half price! Also See: Solid start for Southgate England 2-0 Malta recap Cedi Osman Jersey . Replay backed him up. Adeiny Hechavarria immediately followed the ruling with a go-ahead sacrifice fly for the Miami Marlins, who held on to beat the Seattle Mariners 3-2 on Sunday completing a three-game sweep. Cheap Cavaliers Jerseys China . According to a police report, Douglas is accused of grabbing his girlfriend by the neck and slamming her against the wall several times while he carried her from the elevator to their Hartford hotel room early Sunday morning. http://www.cheapcavaliersjerseysauthentic.com/ .com) - Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl-Anthony Towns each scored 12 points in the top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats 70-55 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide.After 26 races, seven months and one unprecedented penalty, NASCARs regular season has come to an end. The Chase for the Sprint Cup begins in Chicago this weekend as 12 drivers have moved one step closer to the circuit crown. In handicapping the Chase, its important to remember that the playing field is once again level. All 12 qualified drivers now have an equal shot at the Cup, regardless of how many races they have won or lost up to this point. So, who do you like? Jimmie Johnson was the first to clinch his chase spot, doing so over a month ago at Aug. 11s Watkins Glen International. Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth have had their berths clinched for a couple weeks and have likewise been able to cruise through the final races prior to the Chase. Kyle Busch qualified by winning Atlanta two weeks ago and was joined that same night by Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards and Kasey Kahne, leaving five spots up for grabs in Richmond. The field was filled out on the final weekend before the Chase with: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Greg Biffle and - at the time - Martin Truex Jr. Truex may have been the sentimental favourite as he fought valiantly down the stretch, driving with a broken right wrist, but he was removed from the Chase by NASCAR officials after initially securing a spot when his Waltrip Racing teammates Clint Bowyer and Brian Vickers apparently manipulated the outcome of Saturday nights Richmond race under orders from the team. The penalty vaulted Ryan Newman into the Chase by virtue of wild card qualification. When looking for who has the inside track, history can tell us a few things. The first, as always, is dont overlook Johnson. Number 48 has five Sprint Cups under his belt and was far and away the best driver for much of the 2013 campaign. After two years on the outside looking in, he could be hungry to add a sixth Cup to his trophy case. Bowyer - last years runner-up - may be eager to conclude some unfinished business. Bowyer, like Johnson, narrowly missed the Cup last season by virtue of two disastrous sub-20 finishes during the Chase that marred an otherwise excellent run. Kenseths five checkered flags this season are tops heading into the Chase but last years season ended on an inconsistent note. Kyle Korver Jersey. While Kenseth won two of the 10 Chase races, he was unable to crack the top 10 in all but one of the others, leading to a disappointing seventh-place finish. Kyle Busch is something of a wild card. He locked up his spot by winning Atlanta and has taken two of the last five checkered flags. However, the last time he was in the Chase in 2011, he finished last amongst the top 12, reaching only one podium. His brother Kurt has been good entertainment all year, even if he hasnt won many friends. He got into a shoving match with Tony Stewart and caused a seven-car pile-up. In the meantime, hes been a Jekyll and Hyde performer. Heading into Richmond, Busch had finished top-10 in 11 of his last 18. That said, hed also finished lower than 30th three times over that same span. Kurt is one of just four drivers to have successfully navigated the Chase, so he could be out to surprise. Fans will also be eager to see if Dale Earnhardt Jr. can finally return his family name to the Championship conversation after three straight unsuccessful Chases. Junior remains one of the most popular drivers in NASCAR, but many still await his big breakthrough. Logano has earned his slot through consistency. While he only has one checkered flag this season, he has essentially lived in the top 10 since Indianapolis including a pole-checker double at Michigan.Biffle, too, is a driver who shouldnt be overlooked, as hed have long ago locked up his spot had it not been for a disastrous spring that saw him finish in the 30s three times between Richmond and Charlotte, dropping from fourth to 13th in the standings in the process. Newman, for his part, is back in the Chase for the third time in five years and may be eager to make good on the chance hes been given to compete thanks to the Truex penalty.Last year Brad Keselowski took the Chase by surprise, entering it in seventh but then winning Chicago and holding tight the rest of the way with the aid of two duds from Johnson in the final weeks. Will this year have another dramatic finish? Who do you like? As always, its Your! Call. ' ' '
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