Trio compete in Vardy's absence

Rashford, Defoe and Kane vie for starting berth after injured striker is out for England double header

LONDON • Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy has withdrawn from the England squad to play Scotland and France due to a "minor" injury, the Football Association (FA) announced on Wednesday.

Vardy, 30, tore a quad muscle during training on Tuesday, and will now miss tomorrow's World Cup Group F qualifier against Scotland in Glasgow and next Tuesday's friendly against France in Paris.

"Jamie Vardy has left the England squad as a precaution after picking up a minor injury in training at St George's Park yesterday," the FA said in a statement.

"No further players are due to be added to the squad at this moment in time."

England are top of Group F after five games on 13 points, four ahead of second-placed Slovakia. Scotland are in fourth on seven points.

With Vardy out, Harry Kane, Jermain Defoe and Marcus Rashford will compete for a starting berth.

The 19-year-old Rashford has reiterated that he sees his long-term playing future at centre-forward.

LEARNING HIS TRADE

It's all a process and if I keep buying into it and learning from it, hopefully everything will come through when I'm playing in the No. 9 position.

MARCUS RASHFORD, Manchester United and England forward, believes his attributes are best suited to being played down the middle, but says he can also contribute if stationed out on the left for the World Cup qualifier against Scotland.

He was mainly used in wide positions by Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho this season, before a season-ending injury to Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic saw him moved to a central role, where he thrived.

"Of course it's to play down the middle," he said at a pre-match conference when asked about his preference.

"But playing on the left creates a different picture in your mind. It's what's needed to play down the middle.

"It's all a process and if I keep buying into it and learning from it, hopefully everything will come through when I'm playing in the No. 9 position."

After stepping into Ibrahimovic's shoes, Rashford scored crucial goals against Chelsea, Anderlecht and Celta Vigo and helped United to glory in the Europa League.

Although he does not turn 20 until Oct 31, Rashford said he took the new responsibility in his stride.

"I didn't learn much about myself because I knew how I would react to certain situations," said Rashford, who hopes to start in the qualifier against Scotland.

"It's about what other people have learnt about me. You have only seen me playing for one year, and there's still a lot of things you don't know about me, and what you've got to learn, and what I've got to learn about myself.

"It's all just a start."

Kane, meanwhile, says he is ready to succeed Wayne Rooney as England's long-term captain.

England manager Gareth Southgate has dropped United forward Rooney, 31, for the last two international matches, and said he will decide who captains his side on a match-by-match basis.

He has praised Kane's "leadership qualities" and despite only being 23, the Spurs hotshot said he is ready to carry the responsibility that comes with the armband.

Asked if he thought it might be too soon for him to take on the captaincy, Kane replied: "For me personally, I don't think so.

"I've been captain for Spurs a few times. You wear an armband and it gets built up a lot to be a captain.

"It is a fantastic thing, but in this team - and in this day and age - there should be more than just one leader out there."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 09, 2017, with the headline 'Trio compete in Vardy's absence'. Print Edition | Subscribe