England fans are demanding Nike start selling a replica goalkeeper shirt after Mary Earps’ Women’s World Cup final heroics saw her scoop the competition’s Golden Glove award.
The Manchester United star, dubbed “Mary Queen of Stops”, previously expressed her dismay over the “very hurtful” decision not to put her replica shirt on sale ahead of the World Cup.
After Sunday’s final, pressure increased on Nike to “step up” and release a Mary Earps shirt, and the company said it is “working towards solutions for future tournaments”.
A Change.org petition started in July calling on Nike to release the goalkeeper shirt has more than 66,500 signatures, with more than 4,500 names added on Sunday.
The mothers of young goalkeepers inspired by Earps have also criticised Nike for not selling her replica shirt.
She was named the world’s best goalkeeper in women’s football by Fifa in February and is a Euro 2022 champion.
Speaking last month about the shirt snub Earps said: “I can’t really sugar-coat this in any way, so I am not going to try.
“It is hugely disappointing and very hurtful.
“It is very, on a personal level, it is obviously hugely hurtful considering the last 12 months especially, and also I think there has been an incredible rise in goalkeeping participation over that year.
“I go into grassroots clubs and I am asked to bribe people to go into goal, and I have been to more clubs recently and that’s not been the case.
“A lot of that has come off the back of the Euros, but also some of my success this year.
“For my own family and friends and loved ones not to be able to buy my shirt, they are going to come out and wear normal clothes and I know that sounds like ‘Oh Mary, what a horrible problem’, but on a personal level that is really hard.
“You know (England captain) Millie (Bright) spoke to me a couple of weeks ago, or maybe a bit longer, and said ‘Mary, my niece is desperate to get your shirt, where can I get it?’ I was like ‘Yeah you can’t, it doesn’t exist’.
“I think that is a huge problem and I think it is a scary message that is being sent to goalkeepers worldwide that you are not important.
“(Kids) are going to say ‘Mum, dad, can I have a Mary Earps’ shirt?’ And they say ‘I can’t, but I can get you an Alessia Russo 23, or a Rachel Daly 9’.
“And so what you are saying is that goalkeeping isn’t important, but you can be a striker if you want.”
England men’s keeper Jordan Pickford does not have a replica goalkeeper shirt available for purchase at the England store.
Alice Grundy, nine, has been a goalkeeper for about three years for Pannal Ash sports in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
The youngster watched the final, and her hero Earps, at home with her family. Her mother Kimberley Grundy, told the PA news agency: “I think the whole street heard us cheer when (Earps) saved the penalty.”
Ms Grundy, 41, a canine behaviourist, added: “I think Earps is going to have a huge impact on kids wanting to play in goal, not only because she is incredible on the pitch but she is brilliant on social media which makes players seem a lot more accessible.
“Ultimately she is going to be an inspiration.”
Ms Grundy said it is “disgusting” that Nike does not sell Earps’ top.
“Every other player has a named shirt you can buy. We could get a Daly shirt as she is our local hero but to single out not having the goalkeeper’s shirt is an insult to Earps and means that no-one can choose to wear that shirt,” she said.
“I don’t think they can go back on it now as I’m not sure anyone would be happy to give Nike the revenue when they are capitalising on the fortune of her.”
Sophie Judge, six, is also a fan of Earps and cheered on her idol from her home in Leeds.
She has played football, in different positions, since the age of four and has a strong interest in goalkeeping.
Her mother Leanne Judge, 35, who works in children’s safeguarding, told PA: “We are extremely disappointed at the decision not to produce a replica Mary Earps shirt.
“Sophie would have loved to be able to practise her goalkeeping in it and to feel like she was playing the part of her hero.”
A Nike spokesman said: “Nike is committed to women’s football and we’re excited by the passion around this year’s tournament and the incredible win by the Lionesses to make it into the final.
“We are proudly offering the best of Nike innovation and services to our federation partners and hundreds of athletes.
“We hear and understand the desire for a retail version of a goalkeeper jersey and we are working towards solutions for future tournaments, in partnership with Fifa and the federations.
“The fact that there’s a conversation on this topic is testament to the continued passion and energy around the women’s game and we believe that’s encouraging.”