WSL

BBC Sports Personality of the Year winner Mary Earps credits ‘team success’

By Sports Desk December 19, 2023 334

Mary Earps hailed the part played by her England and Manchester United team-mates as she secured the 2023 BBC Sports Personality of the Year prize.

The 30-year-old goalkeeper was a key part of the Lionesses side which reached the Women’s World Cup final in the summer and won FIFA’s Golden Glove award for the best goalkeeper at the tournament.

Earps saved a penalty from Spain’s Jenni Hermoso in the final, but the Lionesses were unable to add to their 2022 European crown as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat in Sydney.

At club level she kept 14 clean sheets as United finished second in the Women’s Super League, and she hailed the part her team-mates had played in her achieving this individual accolade.

“I would not be here without my team-mates with the Lionesses and at Manchester United because we’ve achieved some incredible things over the last couple of years,” she said.

“While individual accolades are great, they only come after team success. This is their trophy just as much as mine.”

Former England cricketer Stuart Broad, who retired at the end of the fifth Ashes Test in the summer, was second in the BBC public vote and world heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson was third.

But the night belonged to Earps, for whom it was the culmination of a scarcely believable last 12 months.

“(Winning the award) feels pretty great on the back of a couple of big years – 2023 has been wild in ways I never expected, I am really grateful,” she said.

Her international career appeared at a crossroads in 2021 and she acknowledged during the BBC show she felt she had “lost purpose” after losing her place in the England team.

Sarina Wiegman recalled her in the first England squad she named in September of that year after Earps had been out in the cold since November 2019.

“I always committed to myself that anything I would have after that period of time (out of the England team) would be a bonus and it just hasn’t stopped yet,” Earps said.

“I’m just trying to make the most of everything, because when it stops, you miss it.”

Broad announced he was retiring from cricket during the fifth Ashes Test in the summer and bowed out in spectacular fashion. The 37-year-old hit a six off his final ball and took the final wicket as England won the match to level the series, although Australia retained the urn.

Johnson-Thompson claimed the world heptathlon title for the second time in Budapest in the summer after a calf injury wrecked her hopes of Olympic glory in Tokyo in 2021.

Manchester City’s treble-winning campaign was recognised at the BBC awards ceremony on Tuesday night as they won the Team of the Year prize.

Star striker Erling Haaland, who scored 52 goals as the Blues dominated at home and in Europe, won the World Sport Star of the Year award and City manager Pep Guardiola was named coach of the year.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 20 December 2023 06:46
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