Roy Hodgson has allowed Jamie Vardy time off from England’s Euro 2016 preparations to get married on Wednesday.
Just days after naming an enlarged 26-man provisional squad, Hodgson saw his team emerge victorious from a hard-fought friendly against Turkey in Manchester.
Harry Kane’s early opener was quickly cancelled out by Hakan Calhanoglu at the Etihad Stadium, where Fatih Terim’s men threatened to secure a first win against England.
However, a second-half change in system saw Vardy move from a wider position to form a two-pronged strike force with Kane – a move that quickly paid dividends as his pace and directness earned a penalty.
Tottenham striker Kane missed the spot-kick, but his Leicester City counterpart saved his blushes by firing home from close range, wrapping up a 2-1 win that Hodgson says will be his last England display before finalising his 23-man squad for the European Championship.
“Vardy won’t be involved on Friday because he is getting married on Wednesday,” Hodgson said, referring to the friendly against Australia at the Stadium of Light.
“That, you could say, is unfortunate but you must bear in mind last year his wedding was planned during the month of June and I called him up for the international matches and he cancelled his wedding.
“I think he deserves that possibility to get married here.”
Hodgson is unsure why the wedding was planned for Wednesday but suggests that Vardy had, quite understandably, not expected to be called into England duty so soon after the season ended.
The England boss also highlighted the 29-year-old is not desperately needed for the Australia match, considering his recent displays and the fact his squad is boosted by a clutch of players.
“I don’t think his place in the team or the squad at the moment is under enormous threat and we do have other players to see that we need to look at,” Hodgson said.
“In some ways, as a second preparation game, it hasn’t caused any particular problems.”
Vardy, though, appears keen to return before for the Australia match in order to press home his already impressive Euro 2016 credentials.
“I get married on Wednesday,” the striker said after the match. “The boss has given me Wednesday off to get married but I’ll be back in training after that.”
Hodgson: We played reasonably well
Vardy’s determination to play will no doubt please Hodgson, even if his presence is not necessarily required.
Manchester United and Liverpool’s absent players will join up with England on Monday, with teenager Marcus Rashford getting his first taste with the senior team just three months after making his club debut.
The 18-year-old impressed in United’s FA Cup final win against Crystal Palace, but picked up a knee complaint that needs assessing by the Three Lions’ medical staff.
“You might want to ask me about Rashford’s fitness and I’ll have to answer that I don’t know,” Hodgson said.
“We believe it is not a serious injury, but he obviously took a nasty knock and we’ll have to wait and see tomorrow how he turns up.”
The availability of the United and Liverpool contingent will boost England after their hard-fought, if not entirely convincing win, against Turkey at the Etihad Stadium.
“Well, wins are always pleasing and there were some positives aspects,” Hodgson said.
“I thought large swathes of the game we played reasonably well, but there was also the positive for me in the sense that it shows that we’re not the finished article, there’s still work to be done.
“And when you play against a team of Turkey’s quality, because they had some good moments and played quite well, it shows that these next three weeks are going to be vital for us in trying to make certain that we can stay compact at all times and make life easier for ourselves defensively.”