Mary Earps: England goalkeeper hits out at Nike over shirt row

The England women’s goalkeeper said it is “very hurtful” that Nike has decided not to manufacture her replica shirt for the Women’s World Cup.

The team’s home and away kits are available for fans to buy from Nike, however, Mary Earps’ goalkeeper kits have not been put up for sale.

Earps, who was named the best female goalkeeper by FIFA in February, said she only realised her shirt would not be made available by Nike in April and has since been “fighting behind closed doors” to find a solution before England’s opening match on Saturday against Haiti.

New Lionesses kit

Image: Some of the Lionesses in their latest kit

The 30-year-old even offered to pay for the production of herself, she said on Friday.

“I can’t really sugar-coat this in any way, so I am not going to try. It is hugely disappointing and very hurtful,” the Manchester United keeper said.

“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.”

Earps said that Millie Bright, the team captain, recently wanted to buy Earps’s shirt for her niece who was “desperate” for one – and had to ask the goalkeeper where she could get one, only to be told it doesn’t exist.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Everything you need to know about the tournament

England's Lionesses won the Women's Euro 2022 last year after beating Germany

Image: England celebrate winning the European Championships last summer

“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,” she said.

The manufacturer ultimately determines the commercial direction of what is produced, Sky News understands.

Earps, who is England’s vice-captain, warned that Nike’s decision sends out a “scary message” that goalkeepers are not important, especially as you can buy replica shirts for her teammates such as Alessia Russo and Millie Bright.

Read more:

All you need to know about the tournament

Commentator criticised for ‘sexist’ remark during match

Why are women footballers facing ‘epidemic’ of knee ligament injuries?

Mary Earps tries in vain to prevent Germany score during the Women's Euro 2022 final at Wembley

Image: Mary Earps during the Women’s Euro 2022 final at Wembley

“So what you are saying is that goalkeeping isn’t important but you can be a striker if you want,” she said.

None of England’s men’s goalkeeper shirts appear to be available on Nike’s website.

Earps claimed she offered to fund the shirts herself and that the Football Association (FA) has supported her efforts, but said she was ultimately forced to produce her own limited edition T-shirt because she at the very least “wanted to create something that people could have for themselves” at the World Cup.

Sky News has approached Nike for comment.

You might also like...