Jermain Defoe flies home following death of father


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The Independent Football

England striker Jermain Defoe has returned to England following the death of his father.

The Tottenham striker, who headed home this morning, is expected to return to the European Championships at some point, although no date has been set and no replacement has been called up.

With England's game against France on Monday, there is a good possibility he will miss the first game of England's Euro 2012 campaign.

The FA said in a statement this morning: "England striker Jermain Defoe has returned home to England this morning following the passing of his father overnight."

It continued: "Jermain will re-join the England Euro squad in due course. There will be no replacement player called in.

"We would ask all media to respect Jermain and his family's privacy at this difficult time."

In a statement, Tottenham also offered the 29-year-old their sympathies.

"Everyone at the club sends their sincere condolences to Jermain and his family," the Premier League club said.

Although it was unlikely the Tottenham striker would start the match against France, with Wayne Rooney suspended for the first two matches, it leaves England manager Roy Hodgson with few options.

Danny Welbeck and Andy Carroll will be the only out-and-out strikers available until Defoe returns. It is expected Ashley Young will operate behind whichever one Hodgson favours.

The news of Defoe's enforced absence is the latest blow to Hodgson's preparations, which have been hit with injuries to Frank Lampard, Gareth Barry and John Ruddy, as well as the continued debate surrounding the England manager's decision to drop Rio Ferdinand for "football reasons".

While Defoe is not at the top of the pecking order in attack, the Tottenham striker remains a central part of the squad. He looked lively after coming on as a substitute in the friendly against Belgium, hitting the post, and his goal against Slovenia at the 2010 World Cup which propelled England to the knock out stages prove his worth on the big stage.