King's fall leaves Reggae Boyz off the beat for their biggest stadium show

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The Independent Football

Jason Euell has admitted the decision to boot Marlon King out of the Jamaica squad has spoiled the build-up to tomorrow's high-profile friendly with England at Old Trafford.

King was kicked out of the Jamaican team hotel in the early hours of Wednesday after allegedly returning drunk from a night out with some 'uninvited guests' and then launching a volley of abuse at federation president Crenston Boxhill.

As part of the group who went out with King, Euell's place in the squad was also believed to have been in the balance. But, after taking a day out to get his head right, the veteran Charlton man has been allowed back in.

However, the incident has soured the build-up to an eagerly-awaited first meeting between Jamaica and England. And, while Euell refused to offer a public opinion on whether King had been harshly treated, he does believe the striker's absence will be keenly felt.

"Any player who has been a regular in the national side, as Marlon has, will be a big miss," said Euell.

"What has happened over the last 48 hours has spoiled things for us.

"It is not something we wanted and there are issues that need to be sorted out between the players and the federation.

"We were not aware of a curfew on Tuesday but it is not for me to say whether Marlon was harshly treated or not.

"I just know I needed to go away for a day to get my head right mentally and try to prepare for the game."

Despite King's protestations, and a call of apology on Wednesday, Boxhill is adamant he was left with no other alternative that to kick the Watford striker out.

He did offer hope of a reconciliation, although that will be little comfort to the 26-year-old, who may now be denied the opportunity of ever facing the country of his birth.

"All things are possible," said Boxhill.

"Marlon has accepted what he said was wrong. He has admitted he had too much to drink and recognises he made some mistakes.

"But the fact he phoned the following day and said this at least proves we can sit down at some stage after tomorrow's game, have a one-to-one talk and see what happens from there."

The row, coupled with a reported dispute over money which Boxhill denies and a shambolic preparation for last Monday's 4-1 hammering by Ghana when the Jamaican team bus only arrived at the Walker's Stadium 30 minutes before kick-off, heightens fears England's final friendly prior to their departure for Germany could turn into a one-sided farce.

However, skipper Donovan Ricketts, a member of the Jamaican squad which reached the 1998 World Cup finals, insists the Reggae Boyz will provide England with a stern test.

"It is a dream to play at Old Trafford," said the Bradford keeper.

"I have only ever driven past it on my way to the Trafford Shopping Centre, so it is an experience I am really looking forward to and the rest of the lads feel the same way.

"We have nothing to prove after Monday. We will play our natural, aggressive brand of football, although we will tone it down slightly because we want to make sure none of the England players get injured."

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