Mary Earps England Women's Football Team Camp, American Express Elite Football Performance Centre, Lancing, UK - 28 May 2019 Photo: Lynne Cameron for The FA

Former Reading keeper Earps reflects on ‘best year’ in Germany

Mary Earps describes her first season with German powerhouse VfL Wolfsburg as the ‘best year’ of her career to date.

The England goalkeeper, who is a part of Phil Neville’s 23-player squad for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 starting next week, joined The She-Wolves last summer after leaving FA Women’s Super League side Reading.

Earps has enjoyed a trophy-laden debut season with her new side as they were crowned Frauen-Bundesliga and DFB Pokal champions.

The 26-year-old played a key part in winning those trophies as she quipped: “I had zero trophies in 25 years and then I’ve had three in six months. It’s been incredible.”

She was also a part of Neville’s squad who lifted the SheBelieves Cup back in March. England overcame Brazil, Japan and drew with the hosts USA to lift the trophy for a first time.

Unsurprisingly, collecting three trophies in the space of two months has motivated Earps to add another winners’ medal to her growing trophy cabinet in the summer with the Lionesses.

She said: “Winning is addictive and like anything, you want to get the experience of it and to be in those high-pressure moments as that’s when the top players and the top teams switch it on.”

As well as reaping the successes of winning trophies, Earps explains how the move has helped her away from the field. She said: “I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a player and as a person from the experience.”

She also added how facing up to different nationalities in the league will help her on the big stage. UEFA’s 2018/2019 Women’s Player of the Year, Pernille Harder and German superstar Alexandra Popp are amongst some of Earps’ team-mates at Wolfsburg.

“The calibre of players there is unbelievable,” the convivial figure, who was a non-playing tourist with the England squad that reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017, said.

“You challenge yourself against some of the best in training and playing on the weekend.

“It helps seeing what different players of different nationalities do as that gives you a bit of an edge of information on them if you face them in the tournament.”

Looking ahead to the World Cup which is about to explode onto our screens, Earps expressed her joy of being called up for her first senior major tournament. She said: “Delighted. I think that’s the only real way to describe it.

“You get flashbacks of where you’ve come from.

“All those training sessions in the rain and all the difficult decisions you’ve made and the sacrifices.

“To get that official confirmation you’ve been selected … incredible feeling.”

By Shannon McLoughlan (@shanmcloughlan)

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