United star Mary Earps will continue her efforts to fight for equality

England star Mary Earps will continue her efforts to ‘leave a lasting legacy’ in her fight for equality off the pitch after the Man United goalkeeper was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2023

  • Mary Earps lifted the Sports Personality of the Year gong on Tuesday evening 
  • The Man United goalkeeper was linked with a move to rivals Arsenal in summer
  • REVEALED on It’s All Kicking Off: Man United’s January transfer window plans… and how the Sir Jim Ratcliffe takeover will impact them 

Lionesses star Mary Earps insists she will continue her efforts to fight for equality away from the pitch after being named BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2023 on Tuesday night.

Earps, 30, became the 70th winner of the historic award, topping the public vote ahead of former England cricketer Stuart Broad and world champion heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson.

The goalkeeper played a pivotal role in England’s run to the World Cup final last summer, saving a penalty in their narrow 1-0 defeat against Spain and returning home with the Golden Glove.

Earps also finished fifth in the women’s Ballon d’Or award – the highest ever placing for a goalkeeper – and kept a record 14 clean sheets for Manchester United in the Women’s Super League last season.

But Earps also grabbed headlines away from the pitch during the World Cup following her public battle with kit manufacturer Nike, who opted not to put replicas of her goalkeeper shirt on sale to the public.

Mary Earps was named the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year on Tuesday night

The England goalkeeper picked up the Golden Glove at the World Cup over the summer

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Earps eventually forced Nike into a U-turn over that decision and hopes it has set a precedent for years to come.

‘There’s two parts to me,’ said Earps. ‘I’m a very hungry athlete and I want to win every trophy and I don’t want to stop until I have a full cabinet. If I’ve won them all, I want to win them all again.

‘But there’s also the part of me that has been to a different place in my life where I didn’t have that level of success and you realise life is a lot bigger than that. Football and sport are vehicles for change.

‘We can change the world by using our voices, having strong values and doing the right things. I believe in that so whatever I do, I try to have integrity and leave a lasting legacy for many years to come.

‘It’s been a work in progress with all of our voices and the public have got behind me. Now it’s a conversation of “OK, how many [shirts]?” and that’s a very different conversation to what it was before.

‘I’ve had that commitment from Nike that it will never happen again. Hopefully other sports brands will follow suit.’

Earps’ success secured back-to-back victories in the main award for the Lionesses following team-mate Beth Mead’s win in 2022.

It also caps a remarkable rise for the goalkeeper, who found herself out in the cold with the Three Lions only three years ago but has since cemented herself as a key member of Sarina Wiegman’s England side.

Earps iterated that her career in football can be used as a vehicle for change, and spoke of leaving behind a ‘lasting legacy’

‘I made my peace with the fact I would never be an England player again,’ Earps admitted. ‘That was where it was for me. It took a while for me to come to terms with that. It’s a hard pill to swallow when it’s all you’ve ever dreamed of.

‘Sometimes you give it your all and you’re just not quite good enough but luckily Sarina Wiegman came in and saw things in me that I didn’t see in myself.

‘She saw opportunities for me to go out there as England’s number one. I’m just so glad she gave me a chance.’

Meanwhile, Earps refused to entertain speculation over her club future with her contract at United set to expire next summer.

The Manchester United stopper had been linked with a move to WSL rivals Arsenal last summer


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Reports earlier this season that suggested Earps was looking for a move away from the club but she was keen to keep her cards close to her chest when pressed on the matter last night.

‘It’s a great question,’ said Earps. ‘I don’t really want to talk too much about it tonight because I want to celebrate this win but what I will say is there is a lot of stuff that’s been put out there that isn’t true.

‘I’ve remained quiet for a reason. I feel I’ve behaved really professionally and with a lot of integrity throughout this whole situation. What I will say is that I play with heart and passion in everything I do and I drive standards.

‘I want to say more but I can’t at this stage and it’s really hard for me to sit quiet when I see a lot of things that are not right. I think it’s an injustice but I know the appropriate thing to do is focus on my football and see what happens from there.’

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