Despite the Lionesses’ heartbreaking loss to Spain in the World Cup Final, Manchester United keeper Mary Earps had more than just a souvenir to bring back from Australia.
Conceding just four goals throughout the whole tournament, Earps was named the best goalkeeper at the 2023 Women’s World Cup and claimed the Golden Glove award.
She kept the hopes of her teammates alive during the final, making some world class saves and stopping Hermoso’s shot from the penalty spot.
However, at the other end, the Lionesses couldn’t find the target.
When asked by the BBC if her individual performance was any consolation for missing out on the World Cup, Earps said it wasn’t.
“The team result is the most important thing really and we couldn’t get that,” she said. “I just try to go out and do my job for the team, leave everything on the pitch.”
She continued, “In a couple of weeks, when the emotion has settled down, we will probably be able to look back and feel proud – it is no small feat to get to a World Cup final.”
England headed into the competition as favourites after winning the Euros last year, but they were missing five of their starting 11 from that tournament; Jill Scott and Ellen White have retired and Leah Williamson, Beth Mead and Fran Kirby were ruled out through injury.
England faced a number of set-backs, Keira Walsh being stretchered off against Denmark, Lauren James being sent off against Nigeria and having to come from behind against Colombia.
The Lionesses continued to inspire even in defeat, capturing the nations hearts but after the match, the loss was still raw.
“We are very competitive people, we came here to win the game and get a gold medal, not a silver one,” Earps continued.
“At the same time you need to try and be as present as possible. These moments don’t come around very often. I will probably look back on this as up there as one of my career highlights but right now it just doesn’t feel like it.”
Former Lioness teammate Ellen White praised the shot-stopper,saying “Mary Earps winning the Golden Glove award is so well deserved.”
“What she has done for this England side, she is the Fifa Best goalkeeper and she has shown it on the world stage. She has been phenomenal, she has kept England in games, she gave them an extra boost with her penalty save.”
She continued, “What she has done and what she has gone through for the last three or four years, her development as a goalkeeper, her mentality has been absolutely phenomenal. It’s credit to her and her character.”
It is the second time this year Earps has won a Golden Glove award after picking up the Golden Glove for her heroics at United in the WSL.
Earps and her teammates will no doubt be heading for a much deserved rest before the Nations League begins in September.