Mary Earps
Nottingham's football community showed their love to Mary Earps in the summer with two murals. (Credit: Will Hugall)

Mary Earps was the bedrock of the formidable Lionesses squad that brought football home at the European Championships in July 2022.

England’s Women were victorious over eight-time Euros winners Germany in a 2-1 historic Final win at Wembley.

Following the Lionesses continental glory, the influx and impact on women’s football in the UK has been prolific.

“There’s a great deal of pride here at the Colts for Mary.”

                                                  PETER STANSBURY

England’s number one began her career at West Bridgford Colts at age nine, playing there until age 13.

The current Manchester United keeper continued to play locally until the age of 14, before travelling down the M1 to sign for Leicester City in 2009.

In 2010, Earps returned to her homeland when she signed for Nottingham Forest.

Earps influence on West Bridgford is paramount – a mural of the European winner on Lady Bay Bridge, as well as another beneath the Nottingham Railway Station Tram Stop, is one way the community has celebrated their local hero.

Paul Rose, Mary Earps former coach at West Bridgford Colts. (Credit: Paul Rose)

West Bridgford Colts chairman Peter Stansbury said: “Mary’s parents still lives in Bridgford and she comes back regularly.

“Mary’s Euros win definitely raised the profile for women’s football, we have seen an increase of young girls wanting to play football.”

Stansbury continued: “There’s a great deal of pride here at the Colts for Mary.”

The Colts are one of the biggest youth teams in the UK, boasting 130 teams.

Despite an incredible 12 months for Earps, the keeper’s footballing career has not come without its lows.

The 29-year-old’s international career was in doubt after being dropped in 2019.

Speaking in BBC documentary Lionesses: Champions of Europe, Earps explained: “I didn’t even think I was going to be in the squad for a major tournament again, let alone be playing in a final against Germany at Wembley.”

England manager Sarina Wiegman was pivotal in Earps’ return to representing her nation.

In the BBC film, Earps shone light on her career before Weigman’s appointment, saying: “I remember the days of feeling really down and I had reached my limits and giving it a good go but I just wasn’t quite good enough I had responsibilities, I had a mortgage and it wasn’t adding up.

“And then Sarina came in, and life changed.”

Wiegman’s positive impact was fully evident as the Lionesses made history by winning a first ever Euros title for England – men’s or women’s – and inspiring a nation.

Conceding just twice and keeping four clean sheets during the tournament, West Bridgford’s Earps was awarded Goalkeeper of the Tournament.

Moreover, the goalkeeper is not short of nominations – her latest being up for the FIFA Best Women’s Goalkeeper, in a list of nominations released earlier this month.

She’s up against fierce competition, including Germany national team goalkeeper Merle Frohms, America’s Alyssa Naeher and Chilean Christiane Endler.

You can have your say on who takes home the crown on FIFA+, with the voting closing on February 3.

The winner will be announced at the The Best FIFA Football Awards on February 27.