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Nike conqueror Mary Earps wins BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year

England and Manchester United goalkeeper and winner of this year’s Golden Glove award for the best goalkeeper at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, Mary Earps has been named BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2023.

The annual award from the BBC World Service is voted for by football fans from around the world.

Earps said: “I am truly honoured to be BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year. Thank you so much for voting for me. To be the first goalkeeper to get their hands on the award is incredibly special and I am incredibly grateful. Hopefully, one of many more to come and thank you so much again.”

Earps was voted winner of this year’s award from a shortlist of some of the biggest names in women’s football, including Barcelona and Spain midfielder Aitana Bonmati, who came second; Australia and Chelsea striker Sam Kerr, who placed third; and nominees Fridolina Rolfö who represents Barcelona and Sweden and Alexandra Popp, who plays for Germany and VfL Wolfsburg.

The BBC surprised Earps at Carrington, Manchester United’s training ground, where she was presented with the award by her club captain Katie Zelem and the BBC’s Maz Farookhi. Farookhi also shared some video messages with Mary congratulating her on the win, from England coach Sarina Wiegman; Fara Williams, England’s most capped player and Mary’s former teammate, and Peter Schmeichel, former Manchester United and Denmark goalkeeper.

Zelem said: “It’s amazing. We know Mary’s qualities, we’ve seen them at England, at Manchester United. She’s kept us in many games.

“Mary brings a lot of character to the group, whether that’s in the team or outside. I think what she has done for goalkeeping has been outstanding. There is obviously a gap in the market and Mary really wants to push goalkeeping and we’re all so behind her for that.”

Wiegman’s message said: “Hi Mary, here I go again, I can congratulate you again, with the award of the Women’s Footballer of the Year. Congratulations! But you’re not done yet you know, so we have to keep going – let’s get some more. Enjoy this award, and see you soon”.

Legendary Manchester United, City and Denmark keeper Schmeichel added: “Hi Mary, what a great achievement for you to be named Women’s Footballer of the Year! It doesn’t happen very often to goalkeepers I have to say, being ‘player of the year’ anywhere, really. It’s always the girls or the guys who score the goals, not the ones who prevent them. But you’ve had a fantastic season and it’s so well deserved. And of course, you are making our club Manchester United so very, very proud. So keep up the good work and once again, many many congratulations.”

Earps has been voted the BBC Women’s Footballer Of The Year in the ninth year of the award. Previous winners include Beth Mead in 2022, Vivianne Miedema in 2021, Lucy Bronze in 2020, Ada Hegerberg in 2019, Lucy Bronze in 2018, Ada Hegerberg in 2017, Kim Little in 2016, and Asisat Oshoala in 2015.

It’s been a hectic year for Earps – as well as taking on England’s opponents in the World Cup, she also successfully took on sportswear giant Nike after the brand declined to make a replica of her kit available at the beginning of the tournament, in which England finished as runners up.

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