Mary Earps couldn’t look in the direction of her parents the other night as she made her acceptance speech for Sports Personality of the Year, as she tried to hold back her emotions.
Although she dons the crown of the Queen of British Sport right now, it couldn’t have been possible without their support through the hard times in her career.
Backstage, she told The Telegraph about how unimaginable all this was three years ago.
She said: “I made my peace with the fact I would never be an England player again. That was where it was for me. It was the facts. It took a while for me to come to terms with that.”
Earps was suddenly left out of head coach Phil Neville’s squad for the 2020 SheBelieves Cup and was also omitted from the Lioness’s squad in February 2021 by interim manager Hege Riise.
She spent almost two years away from the England squad but her performances with Manchester United meant there was no way Sarina Wiegman could ignore the shot-stopper when she took over the Lionesses.
She recalled: “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. I didn’t know how long it would be [for] at that point so I’m just so glad she gave me a chance. I want to keep going for as long as I can.”
With her future the focus of much speculation recently with her United contract set to expire at the end of this season, Earps was asked where she sees herself next.
“I want to win the lot! One day it would be my absolute dream to win the Champions League and the World Cup, that would be amazing.”
She was not ready to give away anything on Tuesday night about where she would play club football in 2024.
“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.”
She went on to say: “A lot of stuff that’s been put out isn’t true. I want to say more but I can’t at this stage and it’s really hard for me to sit quietly 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.”
Earps was spotted at Manchester airport the day after her big win and later shared a video with her 1 million TikTok followers of her sitting on the plane trying to hide as the couple across the aisle read the paper featuring Earps on the cover.