Defoe to return home from England squad ahead of France opener

England striker Jermain Defoe flew back from the squad’s training base in Poland this morning after the death of his father, reports the BBC.

The 29-year-old is expected to return to the squad but has been given a leave of absence and as yet the timing of his return is unknown.

It was not anticipated that Defoe would start against France, with the likelyhood being that Ashley Young will play just behind a lone striker, either Danny Welbeck or Andy Carroll. However, this is no doubt a big blow to Roy Hodgson’s plans. He is now left with just two strikers available for the opener against France this coming Monday, with Wayne Rooney suspended.

Defoe made a late appearance against Belgium at the weekend, linking up well with North London rival Theo Walcott on more than one occasion, hitting the post with his best opportunity. The attacker currently has 47 caps to his name with 15 goals for the three lions.

He is heading into the tournament coming off the back of an impressive season – despite only making 21 starts for Tottenham he managed 17 goals, making a further 17 appearances as a substitute.

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