Mary Earps: I don't know where I'd be without football

Sunday 26 Apr 2015
Mary Earps in flight for Bristol Academy
Mary Earps has her sights set on a first England senior cap - but admits she must keep working hard to impress Three Lions head coach Mark Sampson.

Bristol Academy goalkeeper Earps, 22, has been a part of the international fold since her debut at Under-17 level, and most recently figured for the Under-23s. 

And though she was involved on the periphery of Sampson's squad during their World Cup qualification campaign, Earps is yet to feature. 

Mary Earps

Earps wants to add senior honours to her England U23 caps

"I've just got to keep working as hard as I can," she told 

"There are a few goalkeepers in and around the team. I've been involved with the seniors a couple of times but I'm just trying to keep learning, keep playing as much as I can and work hard. 

"Hopefully I can make selection difficult. 

"I want to perform regularly and consistently for Bristol Academy and then see what happens." 

It has not been a great start to The FA Women's Super League season for Bristol, who sit rooted to the foot of the table. 

They are currently without a point and recently saw the departure of manager Dave Edmondson. 

Former Birmingham City stopper Earps, though, is focused on reaching her long-term ambition of playing in a major tournament and knows that performing well for her club is her priority. 

Mary Earps

Earps is focused on working hard for Bristol Academy

"When I first got into football, I always knew that I wanted to play at the highest level that I could and become the best player that I can be," said Earps. 

"The ultimate dream is to represent my country in a major tournament and hopefully one day that will happen for me.

"But in the meantime I've just got to keep working hard and grafting to be the best player and person that I can be on and off the field." 

Earps represented The FA as a St. George's Day ambassador last week, taking the Together for England Roadshow to a primary school in Somerset. 

She was joined by former England midfielder Jermaine Jenas who, by coincidence, went to the same school as Earps where they grew up in Nottingham. 

And while Jenas was a role-model for Earps and her fellow Becket school pupils, she also looks to a number of today's stars for inspiration and says she would be lost without football in her life.

Jenas and Earps

Earps and fellow Becket School pupil Jermaine Jenas

"I went to the same school in Nottingham as Jermaine – obviously at different times!" she joked.

"Jermaine has had a fantastic career. Our school was particularly proud of pupils who went on to big things, and Jermaine was one of those people and would be a regular topic of conversation – someone whose footsteps other children could follow.  

"Steven Gerrard, although he is not a goalkeeper, is a great role model and being a Liverpool fan I've watched him ever since I can remember. 

"Goalkeeper-wise I look up to Joe Hart for his shot-stopping ability, Iker Casillas for his 1v1 battles, Pepe Reina for his distribution of the ball, and obviously Manuel Neuer is the all-round complete keeper." 

She added: "Just to be a part of the football world and the football environment is a great experience - I don't know where I'd be without football, it's something I wouldn't like to think about.

"I've always been driven towards being a full-time professional footballer, to play for my country and play in the highest league in the country. 

"I'm still learning, I'm still developing but football has kept me grounded and focused - it is something I've always wanted to do."

By Jamie Bradbury FA Editor