England Striker ‘Jermain Defoe’ flies back from Euro 2012 after sudden death of his father

England striker Jermain Defoe returned flew back to England today after learning that his father had died after losing his battle with throat cancer. The Tottenham striker left England’s hotel ten minutes before the rest of the squad boarded a coach for their first training session in Poland having only arrived in the country on Wednesday evening.
Defoe – dressed in jeans, trainers and a black top – was escorted from the Stary Hotel by an FA chaperone and taken by car to Krakow airport for a flight back to the UK.

The Daily Mail has learned that England manager Roy Hodgson was ‘aware’ of the illness affecting Defoe’s 47-year-old father and knew there was a possibility that the player might have to return home to be with family and friends sometime during the tournament.

‘Jermain’s father had been ill for some time,’ said an FA source.

‘He had been treated for throat cancer at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London for some time so this was not a bolt from the blue for Jermain.

‘He was told the sad news that his father had passed away overnight and we made plans for him to fly home as soon as possible.

‘Jermain is a strong lad and was quite pragmatic about events. Roy Hodgson felt it was right that he flew back immediately to be with his family.

‘He will miss at least two days of training prior to the opening match against France on Monday therefore we do not know if he will play any part in that game.’

As Defoe flew home his England teammates took part in a ‘closed’ training session in Krakow before manager Roy Hodgson was due to speak to the media this afternoon.

Eight years ago it was revealed that Defoe’s dreadlocked father Jimmy, 39 — who split with Jermain’s mum when he was a baby — was living on £53.05 a week benefit. The jobless decorator lived in a small shared flat in Forest Gate, East London, just six miles from where his millionaire son was then living with his mother Sandra.

Jimmy was reportedly not receiving any financial help from Jermain but said at the time:

‘I am so proud of him. He is a fantastic player. But we live in different worlds.’

Jimmy married Sandra in 1981 but the couple split soon after Jermain was born in 1982. Defoe then stayed with his mother who has since remarried.

Tottenham Hotspur released a statement on the club’s website which said:

‘Jermain Defoe has returned home from the England squad base in Poland this morning after receiving the sad news of the passing away of his father overnight.
‘Everyone at the Club sends their sincere condolences to Jermain and his family.’

The FA said in a statement

‘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.’

The Football Association and England manager Roy Hodgson have said they will offer Defoe as much time off as he needs and still view him as a central component of the squad, even though he was unlikely to start against France.

‘He was told the sad news that his father had passed away overnight and we made plans for him to fly home as soon as possible.

‘Jermain is a strong lad and was quite pragmatic about events. Roy Hodgson felt it was right that he flew back immediately to be with his family.

‘He will miss at least two days of training prior to the opening match against France on Monday therefore we do not know if he will play any part in that game.’

Culled from DailyMail

Photo Credit: Ferrari Press Agency & Mark Large

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