TWO games down, and the prospect of England’s Euro 2024 qualifying campaign resulting in any jeopardy has already disappeared.

Having seen off Italy and Ukraine, their only two realistic rivals for a top-two finish in Group C and an automatic place at next year’s finals in Germany, the remaining six matches should be something of a procession for Gareth Southgate and his players.

The momentum that has been evident throughout the vast majority of Southgate’s reign remains intact despite the disappointment of last autumn’s World Cup quarter-final defeat to France, with England having scored four goals in the space of four days against opponents who must already be resigned to having to battle it out for second spot in their qualifying pool.

Harry Kane cannot stop finding the back of the net, with yesterday’s first-half strike having taken his record-breaking goals tally to 55, Bukayo Saka, who also scored before the interval, is successfully transferring his excellent club form with Arsenal to the international stage, and Jude Bellingham is continuing his rapid development into a world-class central midfielder. Thanks to those three players alone, England deserve to be one of the early favourites for next year’s Euros.

Ukraine’s players have far weightier things to worry about than their prospects of making an impact in Germany in 16 months’ time, and given everything that is going on in their homeland, the resilience of yesterday’s visitors to Wembley is admirable. Ukraine’s footballers want to use the sport as vehicle for celebrating their nationhood, and the world will have seen the blue and yellow flags that fluttered all around England’s national stadium yesterday. England’s players had a much more mundane job to do, and to their credit, they performed it effectively and impressively.

Yesterday’s game will have been especially sweet for James Maddison, who was finally handed his first start for his country. Southgate had previously been reluctant to unleash Maddison onto the international stage – the Leicester City midfielder did not play a single minute at the World Cup finals in Qatar - but with Jack Grealish having fluffed his lines in Naples on Thursday night and Phil Foden unavailable after undergoing appendix surgery yesterday morning, the 26-year-old was selected on the left of England’s attack. He was quietly effective, even if most of the home side’s best moves originated on the opposite flank, where Saka and Jordan Henderson dovetailed neatly.

By the end of the afternoon, England had run out convincing winners, although unlike in Naples, when their counter-attacking capabilities sliced Italy apart in a whirlwind first half, this was a day when patient probing paid off. Ukraine’s players, roared on by a colourful and vocal band of supporters, 1,000 of whom had received free tickets from the FA, were happy to let England have the ball as they dropped deep and held their defensive shape in their own half.

As a result, England initially found chances hard to come by. Kane was presented with a golden boot before kick-off to mark the record-breaking strike against Italy last Thursday that saw him usurp Wayne Rooney’s as the nation’s leading goalscorer, but his attempts to add to his tally in the opening half-hour of yesterday’s game foundered in the face of some spirited defending, allied to some uncharacteristically sloppy finishing.

The England skipper finally got his first sight of goal in the 20th minute, only for his back-post header to float harmlessly into the hands of Ukrainian goalkeeper Anatoliy Trubin, and he missed the ball completely as he tried to connect with an attempted volley from a Henderson cross five minutes later.

His best opportunity of the first half came on the half-hour mark, but while he anticipated Maddison’s quick free-kick which was prodded behind the Ukrainian backline, he could only stab a first-time effort over the crossbar.

Sometimes, though, you just have to keep plugging away and the breakthrough will come. Kane’s goalscoring instincts are such that he is invariably in the right place at the right time, and that was certainly the case as England finally breached the Ukraine defence eight minutes before the break.

Saka’s cross was floated towards the back post, where Kane had peeled off Oleksandr Svatok. The Ukrainian full-back got a touch on the ball, but Kane was standing directly behind him and was able to volley home.

Three minutes later, and Saka went from provider to scorer as England doubled their lead. The Arsenal forward has been in sensational form all season, and his eighth international goal was certainly one to remember.

Drifting in from the right flank, Saka turned inside Mykola Matviyenko before lining up a superb left-footed strike that arced into the top corner of the net. Having been a key part of England’s run to the final of the last Euros, Saka is clearly determined to play a prominent role in the 2024 tournament in Germany.

Kane almost added a third goal before the break with a low strike that was saved by Trubin, and Maddison threatened at the start of the second period with a shot that flew over the crossbar. Midway through the second half, however, and the Leicester man wasted a great opportunity by overhitting his attempted through ball to Saka as the Ukrainian backline parted down the middle.

With Ukraine’s forwards failing to ask any serious questions of England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, the second period was something of a non-event, which probably suited Southgate fine given the dramas that had played out after the break in Naples three days earlier.

Saka curled a 70th-minute shot over the top after a neat free-kick routine with Maddison on the edge of the box, and with his options limited because of a succession of drop-outs from the squad, the England boss did not make a substitution until the 80th minute, by which point the game had already petered out.

It was a notable change though, with Ivan Toney leaving the bench to make his England debut despite the cloud that is hanging over him after he admitted breaching FA betting rules.

The Brentford striker is set to be hit with a lengthy ban, but Southgate has always maintained that Toney was available for selection, and by handing him his debut yesterday, the England boss has removed any risk of Toney opting to play for Jamaica in the future.

Grealish and Conor Gallagher also left the bench for the final five minutes of the game, and the latter almost added a third England goal within a couple of minutes of his introduction.

Ben Chilwell, who proved an effective deputy for the suspended Luke Shaw, pulled the ball into Gallagher’s path, but the midfielder’s prodded strike was saved by Trubin. Grealish also went close in stoppage time, driving in a low strike that Trubin palmed away to his left.