POSTCARD FROM MALTA
IF one Maltese footballer has a place in the folklore of English football, it is Michael Mifsud, who spent two seasons at Coventry City and toppled Manchester United with two goals in a League Cup upset in 2007.
Mifsud, dubbed the Maltese Messi by Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport after that night at Old Trafford, went on to score 42 goals in 143 games for his country, including two appearances pear against England, before retiring three years ago.
On Saturday, he was back at Coventry as a guest of the club for the game against Stoke City and today, the 42-year- old returns to Wembley Stadium to see Malta compete against Gareth Southgate’s team.
HOW WILL THEY BE FEELING?
Excited. Maybe a few butterflies. These are the games we love to play. There is no higher honour than representing your country but they will know England are very strong. We know our limitations but the game starts 0-0. Everybody will be ready for battle.
HOW WILL THEY LINE UP?
We have an Italian coach, Michele Marcolini and I expect he will be very cautious and play with a back five as we did last time against Ukraine, when we took the lead but lost 3-1. We can’t afford to give England space. They can hurt you so quickly. He is a coach who likes to make changes and give different players a chance.
ONE TO WATCH?
Teddy Teuma is a midfielder playing for Reims in France. He missed the Ukraine game because he was injured but I hope he is available at Wembley. He is very talented. The heart of the team who makes things happen with incredible vision. He can score goals with a good strike.
ANYONE ELSE WE KNOW?
Jodi Jones is a winger, born in London, who plays for Notts County in League Two. He played for Coventry and when I was there to see them play on Saturday, everyone spoke highly of him. He scored for Notts in the play- offs ( against Boreham Wood) last season. He is nippy, very quick with a good left foot.
GREAT MEMORIES OF THAT NIGHT AT OLD TRAFFORD?
It was a dream come true for me! Just walking out at Old Trafford in front of 75,000 people was a dream come true, then to score two goals and hit the post with a back-heel, winning the game (2-0). For the first goal, the ball came across and I slid in. The second was a good goal. I had a race with Gerard Pique, left him behind and scored in front of 12,000 Coventry fans. It was nice to go back to Coventry and know that they still remember it 16 years later.