Roy Hodgson defended his decision to allow Jamie Vardy to miss a crucial Euro 2016 warm-up game to get married.
Vardy weds fiancee Becky Nicholson on Wednesday, having already postponed the big day three times – once so he could join up with England.
Hodgson has given Vardy – who scored England’s winner against Turkey – permission to tie the knot and will not pick him for Friday’s game with Australia at the Stadium of Light.
The Australia clash is England’s penultimate warm-up game before their Euro 2016 opener against Russia on June 11, but Hodgson said giving Vardy time off will not affect his squad’s preparation.
“The public might be surprised, but the major reason for it is because he had to cancel the wedding last year,” said Hodgson.
“His wedding was planned for last June, I called him up for friendlies and he cancelled it, so he’s within his rights to get married on Wednesday.
“We know Jamie, we’re satisfied with him and I don’t think his place is under serious threat, so it hasn’t caused me too many problems.
“Jamie won’t be involved on Friday because he’s getting married.
“He’ll now celebrate his wedding, so we won’t see him for a few days, but we’ll have more competition when Wayne Rooney Marcus Rashford and Daniel Sturridge turn up tomorrow.”
Vardy and fellow striker Harry Kane – who also missed a penalty – scored the goalsthat gave England a hard-fought win at the Etihad Stadium in their first warm-up game ahead of next month’s tournament in France.
With Rooney, Rashford and Sturridge absent, Vardy and Kane took full advantage to press their claims to start England’s Euro 2016 opener in attack together.
Hodgson said: “Kane and Vardy will face more competition when Rooney and Sturridge and Rashford turn up. The Manchester United and Liverpool players will be involved if fit.”
Hodgson had good news on Rashford, who limped out of United’s FA Cup final win over Crystal Palace with a knee injury.
“I believe it’s not a serious injury,” said Hodgson. “But we’ll have to wait and see when he turns up tomorrow.”