Malta boss Pietro Ghedin wants to complete a 'dream' hat trick in England

Malta boss Pietro Ghedin wants to complete a "dream" hat trick on English soil to turn Gareth Southgate's first match in charge of England into a nightmare.

The Italian was part of the coaching set-up when Italy won against England in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley in 1997 and was assistant to Giovanni Trapattoni when the Azzurri were victorious in an Elland Road friendly in 2002.

Now in charge of Malta for a second stint, self-confessed Anglophile Ghedin is targeting the most unlikely of hat tricks when he takes charge of the minnows in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Saturday.

"We won once at the old Wembley, we won 1-0 at Wembley and Gianfranco Zola scored, then we won 2-1 at Elland Road. Two wins out of two, we need another one. This is my dream, this one," he said.

"Normally we don't play in front of 80,000 people, this is like the Maracana, Wembley is one of the best in the world. Malta last played at Wembley in 1971 and the challenge is more difficult now.

"We try to play our game, it is not easy for us to attack. We want to go onto the pitch with high confidence and we will do all we can. The result? I don't know."

Southgate, who was an unused substitute in the 1997 meeting with Italy and started in the 2002 game, will be taking charge of England for the first time since his appointment on an interim basis last week.

He was given the reins after Sam Allardyce left the role just 67 days since his appointment following the release of video footage where he made damaging comments to undercover reporters from the Daily Telegraph.

Ghedin said he had sympathy for Allardyce following his departure and does not expect a different England side to have developed so early under Southgate's tenure.

"I met Allardyce in France at the turn of September, there was a UEFA meeting," he said. "I'm sorry for him but the FA change their coach, they appoint a big ex-football player. Maybe the new coach brings in the new generation but there is too few time to change too many things.

"I read the paper but I think Allardyce said sorry and made a mistake, it was not a good affair, sometimes life is like that and nobody is perfect, I think Allardyce is a nice man."

Former England captain Alan Shearer labelled the Three Lions a "laughing stock of world football" following the Allardyce debacle, but Ghedin defended the Football Association and said the organisation are often the envy of other football associations.

Asked if he thought England were a laughing stock, the 63-year-old replied: "No I don't think. The FA is a good federation, they know everything and what they are doing. The coach they chose in that moment it was nice.

"It is not easy for everybody to be agreed about the coach or selection of the player but the organisation in England is the best.

"In Italy I did three World Cups, three European Championships and two Olympic Games and every time I came [to England] they were jealous of England, of the organisation.

"They are very strong. Some time they have to win a tournament. If you win one European Championship or a World Cup everybody will be celebrating. I love England.

"England, for me, in 20 years they've had a lot of good players but didn't achieve good results. I am surprised sometimes because they have very strong players, organisation, everything."