At home with Mary Earps
Fuelled by her egg breakfasts and with the help of her trusted rebound net, United’s Mary Earps has been keeping herself sharp for the fixtures that lie ahead, and she has plenty of advice for other goalkeepers looking to do the same...
Hope you're doing okay, Mary. You’re still in Manchester, we hear…
Yes, I thought it was better to stay here, to protect my family and my gran [who live near Nottingham], and to focus on my training. It's just little old me here but I've been keeping busy.
Good to hear. It's 11am – what are you up to today?
I have a conference call with United – we have a team one to keep updated with what's going on at the club and the league, and it's nice to just touch base with everyone. I also have my [training] challenges, which are set throughout the week – the one I need to do is called 'super competitive Sunday' – it was set on Sunday but that wasn't the deadline! I've been out for a walk already and I've spoken to my gran already, and I'll probably catch up with some friends later on FaceTime as one of them has a birthday today. Obviously training comes first and foremost, so I have plenty of things going on throughout the day.
Your training routine clearly differs from most of your United team-mates. Talk us through how you're staying sharp as a goalkeeper...
Obviously goalkeeper training can be a bit of a challenge, as I have no-one here serving the ball to me. I've got a patio, which I mostly use for circuits and positioning work, plus I've got a rebound net – I can throw a ball against that, which is so handy to get touches on the ball. Like everyone right now I just have to make sure I'm ready for whenever the games resume. Right now we don't know when this is going to end, but we'll need to be ready because the fixture list could suddenly be really full-on.
Did you see the recent clip on social media of the resourceful young keeper who found a way to save his own shots?
I did see that, it was brilliant! It's good to see the ways that people are adapting their lives right now, and especially kids – I love seeing really motivated young kids wanting to develop and improve themselves like that. As a goalkeeper, it's really rewarding to see young keepers who love the game just running around and getting down and dirty in the mud!
Can you share any other tips for budding goalkeepers stuck at home?
The best thing you can do is find a wall to throw and kick a ball at, which is what I'm sometimes working with now. It's not an ideal situation but it means you can always get touches of the ball. Even if it's a low wall, you can practise your footwork and controlling the ball at your feet. I'm not advocating that people do this in the house, but you could do... although mum might not be happy, as I know from experience! If you don't have a wall, or a rebound net, even ball-work such as keepie-uppies are all good for goalkeepers. Don't worry about what other people are doing, just work with what you've got and remember there are always little things you can do to better yourself every single day.
Sound advice. What do you have on in the background while you're training solo?
I like a bit of noise – even if I'm just doing some housework I'll stream some music or a documentary in the background, or Friends or something like that. I normally eye up any documentary to do with football, although I've not sat down to properly watch any TV yet. When it's a proper series that I'm watching for the first time, I need to concentrate and be engrossed in it. I’m watching nothing like that at the minute, though – I might just have to wait for Peaky Blinders to come back. That's the one for me.
What phone apps have you found yourself using more than usual in recent weeks?
I have apps that monitor my training, intensity of sessions and heart rate... all that type of thing. I also measure my sleep – how long, and how deep I've slept. I'm a bit geeky with stuff like that, and I used them previously anyhow. The club helps with all of that, but I like to do it as well, and it helps me stay on top of my training load. After a hard session I like to see it on the screen; that gives you an extra buzz. Apart from that, the apps I've been using most are for tracking deliveries!
Well, deliveries are very important right now...
They are, and getting any sort of food delivery within a couple of weeks can be a challenge. I've been going to the shops as infrequently as possible, and taking necessary precautions when I do. My mum's a hairdresser so has latex gloves for when she does bleaching and stuff like that. Before all this started I went home for my birthday, and Mum did my highlights. She gave me loads of latex gloves so the purple shampoo I'm using doesn't stain my skin, and they've come in really handy to wear to the supermarket. I do my best to go early or late to avoid people – the shelves can be emptier but it's safer that way. I'm like a kid at Christmas when any delivery arrives – I'm easily pleased!
Talking of food, what have you been cooking up?
I wouldn't take any advice from me in the kitchen! For dinners I'm quite boring. I'll have vegetables with some rice – healthy but very plain. My brother's the chef. If I was back home now he'd be cooking up everything. He's been making stuff to drop off at my gran's – lasagne, stuff like that. I'm more of a breakfast person – I'd back myself to cook pretty much any type of egg combination you'd like. My favourite thing to make is chorizo and scrambled eggs – chorizo, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, chilli and a couple of scrambled eggs – or omelettes, poached eggs, fried eggs, sunny side up, whatever you like! But in terms of dinners I wish my brother lived closer so he could drop stuff off. He made an aubergine curry the other week, which was amazing.
There's nothing wrong with an omelette for dinner...
There you go, I was just about to say, 'why can't you have breakfast for dinner?' There are no rules on that.
It sounds like you and your siblings have all been staying in close contact with your gran...
Yeah, I've been trying to teach her how to use WhatsApp for video calls, which has been testing at times [laughs], but it's just good that I can keep in touch, and we speak most days. That's important. She's got it worse than us. She can't go out, she has to have everything dropped at her door. She's a bit bored, I think, but in good spirits, and she likes to hear from us.
How else have you been passing the time?
I'm trying to continue my German lessons, which I started when I was over there [with Wolfsburg last season]. I bought an online package, plus I've got some textbooks. United have also given us access to education courses so I'm hoping to get involved in a couple of them – either business entrepreneurship or financial training. I'm interested in that so it'll be fun to sink my teeth into it. I'm also reading a book called Rich Dad Poor Dad [by Robert Kiyosaki], which talks about the economy, finance and the way the world works. Football is obviously a massive passion so I'm always studying up on new ways of training, but I also love learning how the business world works.
What small thing are you missing in your life right now?
Going out for brunch, and going on a drive while listening to music. I miss having the freedom to do those two things. As for the obvious one, I really miss getting that buzz of matchday every week.
You're not the only one. What would you like to say to the fans?
Just that we'd much rather be in training every day, and playing in front of all the fans every single weekend. Of course we miss all of that. But everyone needs to do the right thing and stay at home, and we are training really hard to make sure we can be as ready as possible for when the football does return. We're really looking forward to that and hopefully we can finish the season strong. If we all do our bit, we can get back out of this quicker.
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