England Women's goalkeeper Mary Earps will miss the decisive clash with France Women on Tuesday after withdrawing from Sarina Wiegman's squad with a hip injury.

Earps left St. James' Park with crutches after sustaining an injury just eight minutes into Friday's 2-1 defeat against France.

That marred what should have been a memorable occasion for Manchester United goalkeeper Earps, who made her 50th appearance for the Lionesses.

England confirmed Earps will be unavailable for Tuesday's Euro 2025 qualifier away to France, with Birmingham City's Lucy Thomas joining Wiegman's 23-player squad for the trip to Saint-Etienne.

"Not the way the big 50 was meant to go, but grateful and hugely proud to have reached 50 caps for England," Earps posted to Instagram on Sunday. 

"Thank you for your lovely messages, gutted that I've picked up a minor hip injury which will sideline me for a couple of weeks.

"Not something I'm used to but nothing a little bit of rest and relaxation won't fix – right behind the girls for Tuesday!"

England are third in Group A3 as Wiegman's side chase qualification for next year's European Championship in Switzerland.

The Lionesses have four points and are behind second-placed Sweden on goal difference, with France five clear at the top of the group after three games.

Wiegman's team then host Ireland on July 12 and play Sweden away four days later in their final group game.

Sarina Wiegman rued England's sloppyness from set-pieces, as the Lionesses' Euro 2025 qualifying hopes were dented by a 2-1 defeat to France.

England suffered their first home defeat in a qualifying match since October 2002 with Les Bleues - ironically the last nation to inflict such a loss - coming from behind to prevail at St James' Park.

The reigning European champions had the opportunity to leapfrog France to the Group A3 summit and, despite losing goalkeeper Mary Earps to injury early on, the hosts appeared on course to do just that when Beth Mead opened the scoring after half an hour.

However, they were undone by set-pieces in both halves, as goals from Elisa De Almeida and Marie-Antoinette Katoto completed the turnaround in the visitors' favour.

The Lionesses, who travel to Stade Geoffroy-Guichard for the return meeting on Tuesday, slip to third place in Group A3. And though Wiegman hailed the overall performance, she acknowledged her side must improve.

"It was frustrating," she told ITV Sport. "I think we played pretty well, we conceded two goals from set plays, which we have to do a lot better on.

"In these matches, you don't get too many chances. In the first half, we created multiple, but only scored one - and they unfortunately scored one too.

"We were more on the ball in the second half without creating too many more chances, but we were dangerous. The final pass needed to be better.

"We know France are really good at set-pieces. Of course, we were prepared, but they still got that time."

Skipper Leah Williamson added: "[We're] really disappointed, the game was there to be won. It was a fantastic occasion. The fans have never let us down, so it's a shame not to give them a win as well.

"We played well, not good enough to win the game, but the chances were there to win it. Two set-pieces have killed us. There's an element of luck to those things, but first contact and second contact need to be better. We will be better on Tuesday."

Mary Earps will seek answers from Manchester United regarding the club's direction before making a decision on her future, saying she has felt like a "punching bag" this season.

Earps' contract with the Women's FA Cup winners is set to expire in June, and there have been few signs of progress concerning a new deal.

Last year, United rejected a world-record bid for Earps, who starred as England won Euro 2022 and finished as runners-up at the 2023 World Cup.

Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain and other clubs have been linked with Earps, and she is biding her time after enduring a difficult campaign in which her commitment to United was called into question.

"The honest reality is that conversations are still ongoing," Earps told Sky Sports on Tuesday. "I've been clear I don't want to make an emotional decision.

"The beginning of the season was really tough, I felt really upset about things that were being said about me and things that came out that weren't true.

"I've tried to be professional, keep my head down, work hard, get on with my job and that's been hard. I've been a punching bag at times.

"I know I've given my heart and soul for the whole season. It's a tough situation.

"I've asked the club for some confirmation on what they're trying to achieve and when I have those answers I'll be able to make a decision. It's up to the club."

England got a first Euro 2025 qualifying win on the board as they defeated the Republic of Ireland 2-0 at the Aviva Stadium.

Four days on from being held 1-1 by Sweden at Wembley in their Group A3 opener, Sarina Wiegman’s reigning European champions went in front via Lauren James’ 12th-minute finish.

They were then awarded two penalties for handball, with defender Alex Greenwood converting the first in the 18th minute before sending the second against a post in the 30th.

After the break England substitute Fran Kirby was thwarted by a fine Courtney Brosnan save, and Hannah Hampton – selected over Mary Earps in the Lionesses goal – then parried Caitlin Hayes’ header as the Republic applied late pressure in front of a crowd of 32,742.

Wiegman’s side sit second in the pool behind France, who have six points after beating Sweden 1-0, while Eileen Gleeson’s Ireland remain without a point, having lost 1-0 to the French in their first game last Friday.

England are next in action with a double-header against France in June.

Wiegman opted to make five changes to her starting line-up from the Sweden match, which as well as Hampton replacing Earps included fit-again skipper Leah Williamson returning for her first appearance in just under a year.

Hampton claimed an early Irish corner but England were soon on the front foot and after Alessia Russo’s header was dealt with by Brosnan, the visitors grabbed the lead when Keira Walsh crossed from the left, Lucy Bronze’s knock-down bounced off Anna Patten and the loose ball was drilled in by James.

The advantage was then swiftly doubled after a shot from Jess Park – another brought into the England XI – struck the arm of Ruesha Littlejohn, Finnish referee Lina Lehtovaara gave a penalty and it was scored by Greenwood as Brosnan went the wrong way.

Just before the half-hour mark Lehtovaara was once more pointing to the spot having judged the Republic guilty of handball, this time penalising Louise Quinn after the ball hit her leg then arm as she battled with Russo to get to a Hemp cross – a decision that prompted considerable protests from the hosts.

Greenwood stepped up to take again, but the outcome was different as her strike from 12 yards came back off the inside of the right post.

James saw a 39th-minute shot gathered by Brosnan before the early stages of the second half saw Wiegman send on Beth Mead and Kirby and Ireland make substitutions that included the introduction of Megan Campbell.

Mead and Kirby combined, with the latter being denied by Brosnan’s excellent stop, but having struggled to produce much in attack Ireland began to show more threat in the final quarter of an hour.

Campbell’s long throw led to a free-kick, Katie McCabe lofted it towards Quinn and she sent the ball into the danger zone, but no green shirt could finish.

Hayes then put one header wide before seeing another moments later blocked by Hampton.

Soon after, Hampton accidentally kicked the ball against the nearby McCabe, who brought another save out of the Chelsea goalkeeper as the Republic’s late push proved in vain.

England boss Sarina Wiegman conceded she was “disappointed” after her defending champions could only manage a 1-1 draw with Sweden to kick off their Euro 2025 qualifying campaign at Wembley.

Alessia Russo nodded home Lauren James’ delivery to open the scoring in the 24th minute, but it was the visitors who looked likelier to score as half-time approached.

The Lionesses preserved their lead until the 64th minute, when England’s concentration switched off and allowed Fridolina Rolfo to drift in and nod substitute Rosa Kafaji’s delivery past Mary Earps.

Wiegman said: “I think this group is really tough. Of course I’m disappointed, because we always want to win.

“I think we scored a great goal, there was momentum in the game, we played well and we kept the ball a little longer.

“Second half I thought the goal was really unnecessary. They scored because we gave away a throw-in and from that throw-in we weren’t able to take out the cross and they scored from that. That was disappointing.

“As we see Sweden is a very tough opponent. I do think we could have done a couple of things better, but also showed Sweden gave us a hard time at the moment.

“We just want to learn from these games, we want to do better every game as other countries want to do too. I think it just shows how close and how tight our competition is.”

England were perhaps lucky that Arsenal’s Stina Blackstenius, who provided the winning strike in the Gunners’ League Cup final victory on Sunday, did not decide another contest this week.

She came achingly close when she found herself one-on-one with Earps shortly after the equaliser, instead directing her effort just wide of the England goalkeeper’s right post.

Wiegman made four second-half changes and staged a late rally, but were unable to find the finishing touch before the whistle blew on three minutes of added time.

Leah Williamson, who captained the Lionesses to their European triumph at Wembley in 2022, watched the entirety of the contest from the bench, almost a year out from her last England appearance.

The Arsenal defender, who was ruled out of last summer’s World Cup after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament, has experienced a number of setbacks since returning to the Gunners in January.

Wiegman, however, was quick to confirm her decision to bench the 27-year-old had nothing to do with fitness concerns that plagued Williamson in the build-up to these qualifiers, after she was substituted in the second half of the League Cup final.

She firmly stated: “She is not injured otherwise she would not have been in the squad, and I would have told you that she was injured.”

The England boss also disagreed with speculation by some pundits that she had prematurely substituted her goalscorer, who was swapped for Chloe Kelly in the 79th minute, explaining: “Alessia played well but tactically we wanted to change a couple of things. We brought Lauren Hemp inside. We just wanted something a little bit different.”

The last time these two sides faced each other was in the semi-finals of Euro 2022, when Russo memorably scored an audacious backheel in the 4-0 victory to earn a nomination for FIFA’s goal of the year.

Friday’s meeting was a much closer affair, with Sweden boss Peter Gerhardsson later revealing he was pleased by the way his side’s plan to shut down England midfielder Keira Walsh – who wore the captain’s armband – had worked.

He said: “It’s one point each now, and it’s five more games. We don’t know what is going to happen.”

Defending champions England kicked off their Euro 2025 qualifying campaign with a 1-1 draw against Sweden in front of 63,248 at Wembley.

Alessia Russo nodded home Lauren James’ delivery to open the scoring inside 24 minutes, and the Lionesses managed to preserve their lead at the break despite Sweden threatening.

An equaliser felt imminent after the interval, and finally came when Fridolina Rolfo headed past Mary Earps, while the Lionesses were lucky not to fall behind when Arsenal’s Stina Blackstenius squandered a good chance for Sweden.

Euro 2022 captain Leah Williamson watched on from the bench as Beth Mead and Lauren Hemp led a late rally, but could not find the finishing touch as the sides settled for a point.

Williamson missed out on the Lionesses’ historic World Cup campaign last summer after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament, and was also forced to pull out of February’s friendlies with a hamstring issue after being named in her first England side in 11 months.

The 27-year-old made her Gunners comeback in January but the journey has not been smooth with her most recent setback coming during Sunday’s League Cup final, which she started with a taped-up knee before being replaced in the second half.

Grace Clinton tried to volley England into an early lead, and there was worry for Sarina Wiegman when Russo went down after clattering into former Chelsea skipper Magdalena Eriksson, receiving lengthy treatment to her lower leg before she was deemed fit to continue.

Barcelona’s Rolfo came close with Sweden’s first good chance, sending Earps sprawling with a low effort that edged just wide of the far post minutes before Russo broke the deadlock.

It began with a fine effort by James to control the ball at the edge of the area and deliver a pinpoint clipped cross to the awaiting Russo, who stooped to head home in the 24th minute.

Sweden looked to reply on several occasions and largely looked the more threatening side in the half’s closing stages, but England clung on to their lead as Wiegman made her first change, swapping Clinton for Ella Toone, before Lucy Bronze had a weak header simply saved by Jennifer Falk.

Sweden boss Peter Gerhardsson made a pair of his own changes, a move that proved prescient when England momentarily switched off and allowed substitute Rosa Kafaji to make an instant impact, delivering the cross for Rolfo to nod past Earps.

England were lucky not to concede a quick second when Arsenal’s Blackstenius, who netted the winner in the Gunners’ Conti Cup final, found herself one-on-one with Earps but directed her effort wide.

On came more Euro 2022 stars – that tournament’s Golden Boot winner Mead in place of James and Chloe Kelly, who memorably scored the winner in that tournament’s final, while Jess Carter replaced Chelsea team-mate Niamh Charles.

The Lionesses had less than 10 minutes to alter the outcome, and they came close when Hemp latched on to the rebound of her own effort and fired a shot that Falk, who had slide out to make the initial save, would have had no chance of stopping.

It took a well-placed Eriksson to clear off the line, the stalemate standing after a fine save from Falk to deny Mead and preserve the point.

Mary Earps has nothing to apologise for after her error against the Netherlands contributed to England's early exit from the Women's Nations League, says former Lionesses goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis.

England entered December's international window battling the Netherlands to top Group A1, needing to do so to keep Team GB's chances of reaching the 2024 Olympic Games alive.

Though the Lionesses beat the Oranje 3-2 on December 1, that result failed to put them in control of their own destiny, with a visibly upset Earps saying she had "let the team down" after allowing Lineth Beerensteyn's shot to squirm in at her near post.

Though England routed Scotland 6-0 in their final group game, that result was not enough as the Netherlands beat Belgium 4-0 with Damaris Egurrola scoring two stoppage-time goals.

That meant they edged out Sarina Wiegman's team by a single goal on the goal difference tiebreaker, preserving their own hopes of participating in Paris.

Though Earps' error eventually proved costly, Brown-Finnis says her performances throughout England's triumphant Euro 2022 campaign – as well as their run to this year's World Cup final – more than make up for it. 

Speaking at the launch of the first ever Panini Barclays Women's Super League sticker collection at the National Football Museum, Brown-Finnis said: "I think she'll learn from that. 

"You have an emotional reaction after the game and it's hard to keep that under wraps, whether that's good or whether that's a negative emotional reaction or an angry reaction.

"I think she'll learn that she was not to blame. She knows she made a mistake and she owned that mistake and she wanted to outwardly acknowledge that.

"I understand the sentiment behind [Earps apologising], but the amount of credit she has in the bank for her performances in the World Cup and the European Championships, since she's had that number one shirt on her back…

"She is the world's best goalkeeper. She's England's number one and she has nothing to be sorry for."

Earps enjoyed a stellar campaign as England finished as World Cup runners-up in August, winning the Golden Glove and saving a penalty in their 1-0 final defeat to Spain.

She won the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year award earlier this month, seeing off competition from cricketer Stuart Broad and golf star Rory McIlroy.

Speaking alongside Brown-Finnis, Earps' England team-mate Chloe Kelly said: "Mary's unbelievable, a great personality, a great girl and unbelievable on the pitch.

"She's achieving great things at the minute, and it's all due to her hard work, her determination. Credit to her."

Manchester United forward Nikita Parris, who plays alongside Earps for both club and country, added: "She's massively important. 

"Great team-mate, great player. She's had an unbelievable couple of years and she deserves all the awards she's up for. 

"Don't forget BBC Sports Personality – that's a massive achievement, something that in England, we all love to watch. I really wish her the best."

Manchester United goalkeeper Mary Earps has expressed her frustration at untrue speculation regarding her future.

The 30-year-old capped an incredible 2023 by being voted the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year on Tuesday night.

She helped England reach the World Cup final and saved a penalty in the showpiece match from Jenni Hermoso. The Lionesses were beaten 1-0, but Earps was voted goalkeeper of the tournament, having been named the best in her position in the world for 2022.

She also kept 14 clean sheets as United finished second in the Women’s Super League, but there are question marks surrounding her club future, with Earps out of contract at the end of the season.

She insisted in the afterglow of her BBC success that the time was not quite right to discuss her future, but she has been angered by reports which claimed she wanted to leave United before the start of the season.

“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,” she said.

“I’ve remained quiet for a reason. I feel I’ve behaved really professionally and with a lot of integrity through this whole situation.

“What I will say is that I play with heart and passion in everything I do and I drive standards.

“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 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.”

Earps has been linked with following her former United team-mate Alessia Russo to Arsenal and also with a move to Barcelona.

Earps’ BBC award also came in the same year where she successfully challenged Nike to produce replicas of her England goalkeeper jersey.

Asked if she thought other brands would now follow suit, she said: “I’d like to think so. I’ve obviously had that commitment from Nike that it will never happen again.

“For me it’s the principle of making people happy and the messaging that was being sent out was really damaging. Now you don’t have that. People can be whatever they want to be.

“Representation and visibility is so important. The fact that young girls and adults – whoever want the shirts – can have access to them. People might be complaining now that there’s not enough, but I’ll absolutely take that complaint over there being none any day of the week.”

Earps’ ascent is all the more incredible given she was considering her international future after being left out of the England team for almost two years before Sarina Wiegman named her in her first squad in September 2021.

“I made my peace with the fact I would never be an England player again,” Earps said.

“That was where it was for me. It was the facts. 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.”

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.

Frankie Dettori finished outside of the top three in the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year but said he still felt like a winner as he reflected on the “mistake” he made in declaring 2023 would be his last year in the saddle.

Dettori was one of six who made the shortlist for the coveted award, although as soon as it was announced England goalkeeper Mary Earps was made a long odds-on favourite.

Dettori recently took part in I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in Australia but was the first to leave the show. Nevertheless, his year proved a real triumph and he was often seen at his majestic best.

The Italian – who turned 53 last week – enjoyed so much success in fact that he revealed he would postpone retirement and continue his career in America, where he will ride in California.

His domestic campaign got off to the perfect start when he won the 2000 Guineas on Chaldean and ensured he won two of the five Classics on offer by taking the Oaks on Soul Sister.

Further big-race glory followed at Royal Ascot in the Gold Cup on Courage Mon Ami and the winners continued to flow. He later admitted that by August he was having second thoughts about his retirement decision.

On Champions Day at Ascot, his scheduled last meeting in Britain, he produced a stellar ride on Trawlerman in the Long Distance Cup and signed off in customary fairytale fashion by winning the Champion Stakes on King Of Steel.

Speaking by video link from France, where he is on holiday with his family, Dettori told Clare Balding: “I’ve been in Australia for a month, and I’ve only got four days off before I start riding in the US on Boxing Day.

“I couldn’t jeopardise these four days to be with you guys, otherwise my family would have killed me! I apologise to everyone, I know how important this is to me and to everyone, I’m very sorry (not to be in the studio).

“To get to the last six, to me I’m already a winner. Racing is very important to me, but other sports appeal to a wider audience in England. I already feel like a winner to be a nominee.

“And you know what, apart from Stuart Broad the other contestants weren’t even born when I started riding! I’m the old man of the group.

“As you get older you have to train more to compete with people half of my age. I would say 70 per cent of the jockeys riding weren’t even born when I started, so fitness is very important. Nowadays we’ve got nutritionists and the most important thing is the mental state – the anger you’ve got to have to keep on winning, and that’s what’s kept me going all these years.”

On his decision to call off his retirement, he said: “At the beginning of the season, I thought, ‘well, I’m 52 and I want to stop at the top’. I watched (Cristiano) Ronaldo two years ago playing for Portugal in the World Cup and he was on the bench. I didn’t want to stop my career being on the bench.

“I thought when I called it a day things would ease off and I’d walk away into the sunset and say my last farewell to everyone. But the opposite happened, wherever I went I kept on winning, I did my farewells everywhere in Europe and I kept on winning and winning. I got to August thinking, ‘Oh my God, am I doing the right thing here?’.

“But unfortunately I’d told everyone I was quitting, so I’d kind of got myself snookered in the corner. I thought, ‘well, I can’t really carry on in England, because they organised so many farewell tours for me and a statue at Ascot’. But I’ve still got to get it out of my system, so my only option was emigrating to the USA, because it’s my last chance to perhaps continue what I love until one day I wake up and say, ‘enough is enough’.

“At the moment, because I’m still winning and the adrenaline is still there, the public still follow me – I’m sorry everyone, I made a mistake, I shouldn’t have said I was going to retire.”

Sir Anthony McCoy in 2010 remains the only jockey to have won the BBC prize. Dettori himself finished third in 1996, the year of his ‘Magnificent Seven’, when he went through the card with all seven winners at Ascot. Hollie Doyle was third in 2020.

England goalkeeper Mary Earps has said she thinks Nike know it was an “injustice” to not sell her shirt after the World Cup.

Sports Personality of the Year nominee Earps said she would “definitely like to think” Nike learned a lesson.

After mounting pressure, the sports brand released her green long-sleeved Lionesses shirt, only for it to sell out in five minutes.

Asked on Sky News on Sunday if she thought Nike “learned a lesson”, she said: “Definitely. I would like to think so, I’ve been speaking to Nike quite a bit over the course of the year.

“On this topic, they know that they got this wrong and that’s why they’ve done this correction – a big company like Nike, they wouldn’t do that if they didn’t know it wasn’t right and that there was an injustice there.

“They did the right thing and, really, I can’t thank the public enough for their support and, really, we wouldn’t be in this position without it.

“I was really ‘um-ing and ah-ing’ whether to use my voice and to speak on it or not – I thought I was just speaking for a niche of goalkeepers, but it turned out to be support from a group of much wider group of people.

“I think from that, collectively, we’ve really changed the world, so thank you to everyone.”

Earps won Fifa’s Golden Glove for her performances in the World Cup 2023 tournament.

She had a tram named after her in Nottingham and was awarded an honorary doctorate by Loughborough University.

Frankie Dettori is one of six nominations for this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

The Italian had announced that 2023 was to be his last in the saddle but he enjoyed so much success that he has been tempted to continue his career in America.

His supposed farewell season got off to the perfect start when he won the 2000 Guineas on Chaldean and ensured he won two of the five Classics on offer by taking the Oaks on Soul Sister.

Further big-race glory followed at Royal Ascot in the Gold Cup on Courage Mon Ami and the winners continued to flow – so much so that he later admitted that by August he was having second thoughts about his retirement decision.

On Champions Day at Ascot, his scheduled last meeting in Britain, he produced a stellar ride on Trawlerman in the Long Distance Cup and signed off in customary fairytale fashion by winning the Champion Stakes on King Of Steel.

So far Sir Anthony McCoy is the only jockey to have won the award in 2010. Dettori himself finished third in 1996, the year of his Magnificent Seven. Hollie Doyle was third in 2020.

The event will take place on Tuesday, December 19 and the other nominees are cricketer Stuart Broad, England goalkeeper Mary Earps, wheelchair tennis player Alfie Hewett, heptathlete Kataina Johnson-Thompson and golfer Rory McIIroy.

Dettori has just completed a spell on reality TV show I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, in which he was the first contestant to be voted off.

Coral make Dettori a 16-1 chance to win with Earps their 1-7 favourite.

England goalkeeper Mary Earps leads the six nominees to succeed team-mate Beth Mead for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

The 30-year-old goalkeeper helped England reach the Women’s World Cup final back in August before eventually losing out 1-0 to winners Spain in the final, but Earps was awarded the Golden Glove by keeping three clean sheets throughout the tournament.

The Manchester United stopper is currently the bookmakers runaway favourite to take the award after picking up further accolades, including England Women player of the year, was fifth in the voting for the 2023 Ballon d’Or Feminin award – the highest-ever ranking for a goalkeeper – while keeping a Super League record 14 clean sheets for United last season.

Earps is joined on the shortlist by retired cricketer Stuart Broad, former jockey Frankie Dettori, athlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson, wheelchair tennis player Alfie Hewett and golfer Rory McIlroy.

Broad will be aiming to become the first cricketer to win the award since 2019 when Ben Stokes collected the award.

He became England’s second leading Test wicket taker with 604 before announcing his retirement on the penultimate day of the fifth and final Ashes Test and helping them draw the series against Australia at the Oval by taking a wicket with his final ball bowled and a six with his last with the bat.

Liverpool-born heptathlete Johnson-Thompson came back from injury to win her second world title in Budapest this year.

Her build-up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics was undermined by an Achilles injury which forced her to pull out but the 30-year-old bounced back with a Commonwealth Games title in Birmingham last year and then conquered the world again in Budapest.

Three-time British flat racing champion jockey Dettori triumphed in two British classics this year, winning the 2000 Guineas on Chaldean and the Oaks on Soul Sister and is joined on the list by wheelchair tennis player Hewett and world number two in golf McIlroy.

The winner of the public vote will be announced on the night of the live show on Tuesday, December 19.

England defender Esme Morgan has urged critics to empathise with players who have the desire, but no longer the capacity, to meet every autograph hopeful amid growing concern that a minority of fans feel overly entitled to their time.

Morgan’s fellow Lioness, Manchester United goalkeeper Mary Earps, this week posted on Instagram after she was tagged in a post-match comment by a parent who claimed the award-winner was “far too busy and important to stop for her fans these days”, admitting she found the accusation “hurtful” when she had taken time to meet as many as she could.

It is easy for Morgan, who was at the age of five already a Manchester City season-ticket holder, to put herself in the shoes of supporters hoping for a post-match meeting with an idol.

She has also witnessed popular team-mates like Chloe Kelly become upset after being unfairly criticised for not getting to everyone  – when the reason can sometimes be as straightforward as needing to board a bus.

Morgan said: “You can’t please everyone and you always remember that one person who wasn’t happy with you as opposed to all the people whose day you made and they were really grateful.

“We love being able to go over and make someone’s day and see how excited people get but with the growth of the game now it’s just not really realistic and feasible for us to get round and see everyone.

“It’s difficult when sometimes maybe some fans feel like the expectation is that they’re going to get to meet you and in years gone by that might have been an option, not as many fans were coming to the games so you might be able to get round everyone.

“It is really hard because I’m sure at that age I would have been disappointed and so gutted that I was so close to meeting one of my heroes, but the growth of the game now means there’s just so many more people interested and so many more people come to the games and want to meet people that it’s just not possible for us to get round it all.

“I think it’s nice that we can celebrate the interaction we have with fans but I think it’s difficult that, if it’s an expectation, players shouldn’t be made to feel bad about not getting round to everyone.”

Players like Morgan have embraced other means of interaction – she is fond of engaging with fans on her increasingly popular TikTok account and through charity initiatives – while new systems like the one being trialled at Manchester City’s Joie Stadium this season aim to facilitate smoother and more quality connections between players and fans.

‘Autograph Alley’ is a dedicated meet-and-greet point where a smaller group of randomly selected supporters enjoy post-match encounters with players, something which Morgan says “is a lot nicer for us actually because it’s a much calmer situation and atmosphere.”

She added: “You can spend a little bit more time chatting to people because not everyone is sort of screaming or going a bit crazy around you. Sometimes when you go around the edge of the crowd, you’re kind of getting screamed at and having things thrust in your face.”

Those still hoping to snag an England player’s signature would do well to take a cue from young Morgan herself. A little politeness, she said, goes a long way.

She added: “When I first started coming to City’s women’s matches I was just a kid in the crowd wanting to meet everyone. But I always felt like my manners were good and I’d always say please and thank you and things like that and sometimes I think that can be lost and that’s one of those things where it’s not a pleasant experience.

“I think if clubs can put something in place, like City have, making it a lot more well-managed and a calmer experience then I think it’s much more pleasant for everybody.”

Aitana Bonmati's similarities to Zinedine Zidane are part of the qualities that should win her the upcoming Ballon d'Or, according to former Portugal international Pauleta.

Bonmati's incredible form in the 2022-23 season helped Barcelona to a magnificent treble, recording a competition-leading 12 goal involvements as the Blaugrana claimed Champions League glory, before she also played a major role in Australia and New Zealand as her national team Spain won the Women's World Cup for the first time.

Bonmati was given the Golden Ball as the tournament's best player, and the midfielder is the favourite to collect more individual silverware in the near future having been named among the nominees to pick up the Ballon d'Or, the winner of which will be announced at a ceremony in Paris in late October.

Pauleta fully expects Bonmati to be named the 2022-23 season's best player, pointing to Zidane, the winner of the men's Ballon d'Or in 1998, as a star Bonmati shares traits with.

When asked who she thought should claim the trophy, Pauleta told Stats Perform at the Thinking Football Summit: "I say Aitana [Bonmati] because she had an incredible season with Barcelona and Spain.

"I played against her in the Champions League. I felt something about [Zinedine] Zidane in her game. She's aggressive but with the ball, she's so sweet. She always puts the ball where it needs to be.

"The game is better when she is playing. She has this quality that makes her play beautifully."

Among the other nominees competing with Bonmati is Mary Earps, the Manchester United and England goalkeeper who won the Golden Glove at the World Cup as the tournament's best shot-stopper, saving a penalty from Bonmati's Spain team-mate Jennifer Hermoso in the final.

Prior to her heroics with the Lionesses, Earps had helped United to a strong Women's Super League campaign as well as the club's first-ever FA Cup final.

Fellow goalkeeper Patricia Morais believes Earps should become the first Ballon d'or winner from their position, saying: "I think it will be the England goalkeeper [Earps], for sure. I have no doubt that she will win.

"She's a world-class goalkeeper. She deserves it because I like her style, how she plays football and I identify myself with her."

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