England XI the last time they played Malta - Southgate was on the bench

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Gareth Southgate's first game as interim England manager should be a walk in the park as he sends the Three Lions into action against a lowly Malta side ranked 176th in the world. 

The Group F opponents shouldn't provide too stiff an opposition for Southgate's group of multi-million pound Premier League stars.  However, that was also the case way back in 2000 when the two nations last met, and England could only manage a 2-1 win back then in a friendly.

But what exactly did the England line-up look like on that day at the turn of the Millenium? GiveMeSport has taken a look back down memory lane ahead of tomorrow's fixture. 

SPOILER: England's newest manager was actually on the bench that day.

GK - Richard Wright 

Now known as one of Arsene Wenger's more expensive flops at Arsenal, Wright was still at Ipswich Town when he made his England debut against Malta.

It's fair to say it was a mixed night. Wright conceded two penalties and, although he saved the second in the 88th minute to keep England's lead intact, he was credited with an own goal after the first spot kick ricocheted off the post and into the net off his back.

He went on to win only one more cap.

RB - Gary Neville

The Manchester United legend was in his pomp in 2000 and was England's first-choice right-back for over a decade - collecting 85 caps in the process.

Not as quick as Nathaniel Clyne or Kyle Walker in today's squad, Neville still thrived down the right flank on the international stage alongside United teammate David Beckham.

LB - Phil Neville

The less heralded of the Neville brothers, Phil still managed 59 caps for his country thanks to his versatility.

Unfortunately for the current Valencia assistant coach, the Malta game came just weeks before he was the scapegoat for England's Euro 2000 failure after giving away a late penalty against Romania.

CB - Sol Campbell

Unlike Wright, Campbell would go on to have great success at Arsenal. In 2000, though, the big centre-back was still a Spurs hero.

A regular for England since 1998, Campbell partnered several other big names at the heart of the nation's defence - from Tony Adams to Rio Ferdinand - en route to his 73 international caps.

CB - Martin Keown

The current BBC pundit actually made his debut for England way back in 1992 but didn't become a regular until Keegan's reign.

Perhaps not as talented as either Adams or Ferdinand, he was still a solid option at the centre of defence - an area England's current squad are severely lacking. He bagged England's opener versus Malta.

RW - David Beckham

Beckham may now be the darling of the nation and England's record cap holder for an outfield player. However, back in 2000, the United star was still working his way back into the country's favour after his antics at World Cup '98.

He showed his quality on the night with a trademark free-kick assist for Keown and, of course, would go on to captain his country for many years. 

LW - Nick Barmby

A name the younger generation might not actually know, Barmby was one of numerous  to try players his hand at England's problem position on the left flank at the turn of the century.

A talented, tricky player playing for Everton at the time, he had only recently been recalled to the squad when he impressed against Malta. Holds the honour of scoring the first England goal of Sven-Goran Eriksson's time in charge.

CM - Paul Scholes

One of the finest midfielders of his generation, Scholes' England career never quite hit the heights he managed at United.

Still, in 66 caps for his country the diminutive playmaker scored 14 goals - many of which were typically memorable. Unfortunately for England, he retired from international duty early in 2004.

CM - Dennis Wise

Scholes' defensive cover against Malta in 2000 was Chelsea's tough-tackling midfielder Dennis Wise.

He ended up with 21 England caps spread over nine years. However, after going to Euro as a squad player, the last of them came just a few months later in October.

F - Alan Shearer (C)

Shearer was leading the line as you might expect, and England have arguably never had a better true number nine.

The Newcastle legend racked up an impressive 30 goals in just 63 games for his country and captained them at both France '98 and Euro 2000, where he scored two goals.

F - Kevin Phillips

Although he only managed eight caps and might look slightly out of place in this line-up now, the then Sunderland striker was coming off the back of a phenomenal season in which he scored 30 Premier League goals.

He never scored for his country, though, although he did eventually make the final squad for Euro 2000 as back up to the likes of Michael Owen.


Emile Heskey
Gareth Southgate
Paul Ince
Steve McManaman
Gareth Barry

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