Mary Earps: Queen of Stops

Monday 16 October 2023 15:39

When team-mates were asked to describe Mary Earps in one word, inspirational; best; incredible; strong were some of those words used.

In reality, it is hard to describe the impact that our goalkeeper has had on, not just Manchester United, but also women’s football as a whole. 

She has gone from wanting to quit the sport, to being named The Best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper in the world. Marc Skinner has said there is no one who he has seen make such a transformation in the game. 
Milestone interview | Mary Earps Video

Milestone interview | Mary Earps

Mary Earps says she's incredibly honoured to have played 100 games for United Women, since becoming a Red in 2019...

“I’ve gone on record many times to say that the growth which she has had is one of the biggest, if not the biggest in any player I have seen," Skinner began, speaking to MUTV recently.

“When I look at the maturity that she has gathered in match performances specifically, I have found that she is that extra layer of protection that other teams don’t have. 

“I think there is part of the games where she builds the games from the back. She is really, really important. 

“I think Manchester United fans have really seen her grow since she joined and now to see her reach 100 appearances is magnificent. 

“I have a lot of time for Mary. We go a long way back and I am immensely proud of her. There are not many players who get to 100 games for a club so congratulations to her.” 

It’s hard to pick out her best moments in the no.27 shirt – just from last season alone there are too many to mention. 

Whether it was diving to push Lauren Hemp’s attempt out of the bottom corner in the derby, or her scrambling effort to tip Justine Vanhaevermaet’s glancing header around the post at Reading, or even the superb full-stretch stop to keep Brighton’s Elisabeth Terland from scoring at Leigh Sports Village. Everyone will have their own favourite.

Mary received a special shirt before kick-off on Sunday, to mark her 100th appearance.
Before Sunday’s Women’s Super League match against Leicester City, Earps was presented with a Manchester United shirt by Marc and goalkeeping coach Ian Willcock, to commemorate her 100th appearance. Our no. 27 became the women’s team’s fifth centurion, joining Ella Toone, Katie Zelem, Millie Turner and Leah Galton.

It’s safe to say that Earps was a bit of a spectator in the first half, with only one major save needed, as she punched away an attempt from the Foxes. However, Mary’s game is not just about keeping the ball out of the net, she is also incredibly key to our play when she has the ball at her feet, and she provides a commanding presence of experience and know-how behind our backline. 

Sadly, the Reds could not manage a clean sheet, or the three points, on Mary’s big afternoon but, despite this, our keeper once again displayed her qualities across the 90 minutes. The highlight was a brilliant save to deny Petermann, tipping a powerful effort from the Foxes forward over the bar.
“It feels great, it’s obviously a hard thing to do [make 100 appearances for a club]. It doesn’t sound like a big number, but in women’s football it is,” Earps told us, describing what it means to bring up her United century.

“This is my fifth season here and I am incredibly honoured to make the list with the other centurions in the dressing room.

“When I first joined, I hoped I would go on to achieve some of the great things which I have done, but then a year or two in, it wasn’t looking like it was possible. 

“I had to work really hard behind closed doors and I am so chuffed and so proud that I have been able to go on this long road. 

“I hope my story inspires others to never give up because you never know when the best things are right around the corner.”