England goalkeeper Mary Earps hits out at Nike for refusing to sell her shirt

England star Earps says it is ‘very disappointing’ that fans can’t buy her goalkeeper jersey

Jamie Braidwood
Sunday 20 August 2023 12:35 BST
What to expect at the Women's World Cup 2023 | You Ask The Questions

England goalkeeper Mary Earps says Nike’s decision to not sell her kit during the Women’s World Cup is “hurtful” and “hugely disappointing”.

England’s home and away kits are available for fans to buy, but the Lionesses goalkeeper kits have not been put up for sale by the team’s kit supplier.

Earps was England’s goalkeeper when they won the Euros last summer and the Manchester United star was named Fifa’s Best Women’s Goalkeeper for 2022.

Her outstanding form has continued during the World Cup, including a penalty save in the final to deny Jennifer Hermoso and keep the Lionesses one goal behind at Stadium Australia.

Earps said England captain Millie Bright had told her she wanted to buy her kit for her niece, only to find it wasn’t available for purchase.

"I can’t really sugar-coat this in any way, so I am not going to try," Earps told reporters ahead of England’s opening game against Haiti on Saturday. "It is hugely disappointing and very hurtful.

"My shirt on the Manchester United website was sold out last season. It was the third-best-selling shirt, so who says it is not selling?"

"It is the young kids I am most concerned about. They 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.’

“What you are saying is that goalkeeping isn’t important, but you can be a striker if you want."

Meanwhile, the FA has confirmed England captain Millie Bright will wear armbands advocating for inclusion, Indigenous People and gender equality in the Lionesses’ respective first three World Cup matches.

Players have the choice of wearing one or more of eight FIFA-sanctioned armbands at this tournament, but not the rainbow OneLove design that sparked the threat of sanctions being issued to countries – including England and Wales – during the 2022 men’s World Cup in Qatar.

Should the Lionesses progress past the group stage, which begins with Saturday’s opener against Haiti, the player-led decision is for their skipper to switch out her armband to a new cause for each match.

Bright said: “As a group, we felt really strongly about all the causes, and we couldn’t separate one from the other. We feel that they are all important and deserve recognition and our support.

“We have only just come to a decision recently as we wanted to take time to process it all and to make sure we spoke collectively.

“Supporting Indigenous People is massively important to us as a team, both staff and players. We wanted to come to this country and respect the past, the present and the future. We are aware of the past, but we want to move forward collectively and make the world a better place. It is something that we always pride ourselves on.”

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