The Red Roses were made to work hard by a determined Canadian outfit at Doncaster Knights’ Castle Park.
Middleton admitted that one of his main goals ahead of the three Quilter Internationals against the USA, Canada and Ireland was to introduce more new players into his squad.
Despite not being 100 per cent pleased with the performance he was still keen to take away the positives.
“Canada made life very difficult, they have massively improved,” said Middleton.
“There was plenty about their game; their set-pieces had improved hugely and it made for a great Test match.
“We weren’t anywhere near where we wanted to be, certainly in terms of our execution. We did some really good things and I thought that our pack played outstandingly well.”
England utilised their forwards to open up a 15-point lead from which Canada could not recover.
Middleton added: “We went to what we needed to in order to win the game, which is great because you need to have that.
“When we tried to open up the game our execution wasn’t good enough and that is where the backs are as a group. When you take Rachael Burford out you have got a very young backline.
“That inexperience showed and they’ll learn from that and that is why it will be so great for us because it is all a learning curve.
“We came into these internationals wanting to blood new players, and you take risks when you do that. We did it in our last game and we will do it again against Ireland.”