Defoe touched by support
Striker expresses gratitude following loss of his father
Last Updated: June 7, 2012 8:35pm
Jermain Defoe: Has returned to England following death of his father
England striker Jermain Defoe has voiced his appreciation for the messages of support he has received following the death of his father.
Defoe returned to England from Euro 2012 duty on Thursday morning after being informed his father, Jimmy, had lost his long battle against cancer.
Although the Football Association has confirmed the Tottenham striker will be returning at some point, it is too early to say whether Defoe will be back in time for the Group D opener against France in Donetsk on Monday.
"I want to thank the fans, my family and friends, the England boys, the FA and the manager for their support," he said on Twitter.
"I can't tell you how much it means to me.
"I love you all may God bless you. A special thank you to Royal Marsden's doctors & nurses who looked after my dad v.special people."
Earlier, both the FA and Tottenham had outlined the situation.
"England striker Jermain Defoe has returned home to England this morning following the passing of his father overnight," read an FA statement.
"Jermain will rejoin 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."
Meanwhile, Spurs offered their sympathies: "Everyone at the club sends their sincere condolences to Jermain and his family."
England manager Roy Hodgson will offer Defoe as much time off as he needs and still views the 29-year-old as a central component of the squad, even though he was unlikely to start against France even before Thursday's sad news.
It was Defoe whose goal against Slovenia in the last World Cup propelled England into the knockout phase, although he has been a peripheral figure for much of the European Championship qualifying campaign after scoring a hat-trick in the win over Bulgaria in September 2010.
With Wayne Rooney suspended, either Danny Welbeck or Andy Carroll will get the nod against the French, with Ashley Young expected to operate just behind.