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Mary Earps focused on FA Cup final after receiving MBE

Mary Earps focused on FA Cup final after receiving MBE

Mary Earps has said this weekend’s Women’s FA Cup final will be the highlight of her season.

The Manchester United and England goalkeeper was made an MBE for services to football during an investiture ceremony conducted by the Prince of Wales at Windsor Castle on Wednesday.

United have struggled in the Women’s Super League this season but could lift the first major piece of silverware in the club’s history in Sunday’s final against Tottenham at Wembley.

Mary Earps helped Manchester United reach the FA Cup final (Nick Potts/PA)

And the 31-year-old told the PA news agency: “I’m very prepared for it, very up for it and really looking forward to it. It’s only a few days away so bring it on.

“It’ll be the highlight of the season, for sure, by a million miles.”

Earps was a key part of the England side which reached the Women’s 2023 World Cup final, winning the Golden Glove award for the best goalkeeper at the tournament, and was also part of the team that won the Euros in 2022.

Earps and her Lionesses team-mates will have a summer off from international tournaments this year but she has one eye on retaining the Women’s Euros title in 2025.

Mary Earps, from Wilmslow, and the Prince of Wales at Windsor Castle (Aaron Chown/PA)

“I think you can see from the World Cup and even the Euros when we won it in 2022, the competition gets tougher every single year,” she said.

“But I think we’ve got a fantastic team and I have every belief in the quality of the girls individually and collectively even more.

“So, I think if we prepare right and go through what we need to do in terms of our preparation to make sure we’re performing at the highest level possible, I have every confidence that we will be there again – we’ve got to earn it though.”

Earps was crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2023, and also drew praise after she spoke out about sportswear manufacturer Nike’s failure to offer an England goalkeeper’s replica jersey for sale before the World Cup – which later sold out in minutes.

England’s Mary Earps during a training session (Jacob King/PA)

More than 150,000 people signed a Change.org petition which called on Nike to release the shirt.

Speaking about her newfound popularity, she said: “I just think that it’s amazing when people want to have a conversation with you and talk about their experience of something that I’ve done, helped them with or inspired in some way.

“But us, as a group of Lionesses, what we stand for – our values – I think is so strong that it resonates with people. That’s a pretty incredible feeling and something that we’ll continue to try and do as a team.”

She described the growth of women’s football as “amazing”, and said she has gratitude to “stand on the shoulders” of female footballers who came before her.

Mary Earps was crowned the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year in 2023 (Aaron Chown/PA)

She added: “I think there’s still a lot of hard work to do.

“I think that’s what we’re focused on, it’s the absolute recognition of how far we’ve come and that gratitude. Standing on the shoulders of the people who’ve worked before us and hopefully the future generations can stand on our shoulders as well.

“It’s continuously everybody involved in the game just continuing to try and push it in the right direction… long may it continue.”

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