Manchester United boss Marc Skinner has hailed Mary Earps following her “thoroughly deserved” FIFA Best award.
Monday’s FIFA ceremony in Paris saw the 29-year-old United player, who was part of the England side that won the Euros last summer, named best women’s goalkeeper.
Skinner, speaking at a press conference on Wednesday ahead of Sunday’s Women’s Super League home clash with Leicester, said: “It’s a wonderful achievement and thoroughly deserved.
“You never know how these awards are going to go, you never know whether the best person actually wins the award. But in this case, she certainly did.
“She brought it in this morning, the girls gave her a huge round of applause. They’ve all been in contact throughout anyway. And I felt the speech she gave afterwards was truly beautiful.
“We’ve got her some flowers and just made a real fuss of her, because she absolutely deserves it. Her ability to win things like that just cements the quality she has.”
Earps on Monday said the award was “for anyone who has ever been in a dark place”, adding: “Just know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Keep going, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
“Sometimes success looks like this, collecting trophies, sometimes it’s just waking up and putting one step in front of the other. There’s only one of you in the world, and that’s more than good enough. Be unapologetically yourself.”
Skinner spoke about Earps as an inspiration for youngsters, saying: “I think what it says is there is a platform here (at United) for you to go on to produce the qualities.
“You still have to do what Mary has done, which is to produce the qualities every day that make her better. But there is always an opportunity.
“What I think the power in it is, and I think Ian (Willcock, United’s goalkeeping coach) is going to try to capitalise on this, is that especially within England, especially within the local Manchester area, is to try to grow our own Mary Earps going forward, to promote that young players, who I’m sure she has inspired, can go on to aspire to be like Mary.”
Nottingham-born Earps has been with United since joining from Wolfsburg in 2019.