England and Manchester United Women goalkeeper Mary Earps has been voted the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year for 2023, adding yet another accolade to what has been a heavily decorated 18 months for the sporting star.
The Nottingham-born keeper was announced as the winner on Tuesday, 28 November, becoming the very first goalkeeper in history to ever win the BBC’s award for the best and most impactful female player of the year ahead of Spanish midfielder Aitana Bonmati and Chelsea star Sam Kerr.
“To be the first goalkeeper to get their hands on the award is incredibly special and I am incredibly grateful. Hopefully, one of many more to come and thank you so much again.”
The 30-year-old went on to add, “I try to use my story as a beacon of hope for people. To show that there are better days coming. You just have to keep going and keep fighting; that looks very different to different people.
“I think there was a time when no one was watching what I was doing. To work hard in silence, on your own, nobody notices what you do. It doesn’t matter what you do, apart from to yourself and your own standards.
“I think that is a big part of where I am today, and sort of the resilience that I’ve shown and I know there are going to be many more moments where I’m going to need that resilience.” Earps also picked up the Billy Seymour Impact Award at the 2023 North West Football Awards earlier this month.
It goes without saying that just like the rest of the Lionesses squad, the no-nonsense no.1 has become an inspiration to so many women and young girls over the past year or so, as well as cementing herself as a firm favourite among football fans in general.
Having finished second in the 2022/23 WSL title race and making it to Man United‘s first-ever Women’s FA Cup final, Earps had a great year at club level too and is undoubtedly one of the most popular female footballers on the planet right now, so we’re going to go ahead and call this latest award well-deserved.
Featured Images — Mary Earps (via Instagram)/Adidas
Bolton Wanderers boss Ian Evatt slams Wigan Athletic player for post-match celebrations
Bolton Wanderers manager Ian Evatt has criticised Wigan Athletic following their 1-0 loss away at the DW Stadium on Tuesday night, with a player from the home team’s celebrations sparking a bit of a coming together on the pitch.
Understandably rumbling not only the away support but the players on the pitch, it wasn’t long before individuals began confronting each other, including both Evatt and Latics boss Shaun Maloney, with multiple club staff and match officials needed to separate people and calm things down.
Addressing the furious finish to the game, Evatt said, “We just won’t accept one of their players celebrating in front of our fans” and was also quick to remind the home side that there is quite a gulf between the two sides in the table.
“It’s not acceptable — go and celebrate with your own fans, no problem with that, don’t celebrate in front of ours”, Evatt continued, adding: “You certainly shouldn’t be celebrating when you’re mid-table, that’s what I think”.
Bolton sit joint second in League One on 66 points with an extra game in hand on Derby County above them; meanwhile, the Tics are currently in 13th place having played one more game than their fierce rivals, though they have taken all six points from their two meetings this season.
The 42-year-old head coach went on to admit that he was frustrated with the result and felt “apologetic to the fans” as he felt they and the squad deserved more from the game, insisting that Wigan “probably know they’ve got away with one” and the celebrations merely proved the Trotters were “a big scalp”.
Elsewhere, opposite number Maloney said the result should serve as wind in the sails for his players, telling BBC Radio Manchester: “Tonight was just a real deep desire to not concede, a really strong mentality. It’s definitely a question I’ve put to us as a team and as a group.
“I know we’re really young, we’ve got a lot of academy boys there that have not played a full season before, but I want that mentality and tonight they showed it”, he added — citing Godo in particular as one of the top performers on the night.
Nevertheless, as Evatt hastened to add both in defiance and to quell and simmering derby day hangover amongst Bolton fans, there are still “12 big games” left in the season and it’s his team that is fighting for promotion back to the Championship after more than half a decade out of the second tier.
You can watch the highlights from the fiery clash between Wigan Athletic and Bolton Wanders here:
Five-star Haaland: Man City’s striker reminds everyone he’s an utter goal machine
Erling Haaland is well and truly back to business as usual after his five-goal contribution in Manchester City’s 6-2 thrashing over Luton Town.
Fittingly bagging five goals in the fifth round of the FA Cup as the holders cruised into the quarter-finals, Haaland barely wasted any time getting back on the scoresheet as he opened the scoring inside three minutes of the away fixture.
It only took him another quarter of an hour to get his second and while it looked for a brief moment like Luton might have some glimmer of hope after an absolute corker from Jordan Clark, who managed to grab two on the night, the goalscoring phenom managed a first-half hattrick on the 40-minute mark.
Clark’s second came in the 52nd minute to bring the scoreline to 3-2, once again making it look like they might have something to cling on to, only for the Norwegian number nine to resume the annihilation by grabbing his next just a few minutes later and his fifth only moments after that.
While the 23-year-old had looked somewhat off his best over the last few weeks, he did manage to find the net once again in Man City‘s last home game against Brentford and despite striking out against Bournemouth, it looks like the floodgates are once again open.
Fans can argue till the cows come home about the level of opposition and quality of defending on the night, but the reality is that many a team have struggled in the cauldron that is Kenilworth Road and anything can happen in knockout tournaments like this — after all, that’s the ‘magic of the cup’.
Oh yeah, and he broke another record in the process before being taken off — the same thing happened the last time he scored five too. Preventing injuries/preserving players’ energy aside, Guardiola seemingly doesn’t fancy letting him score six for some, even though we all know he would.
He literally could’ve had six but Pep clearly thought five was plenty and subbed him off in the 77th minute, but it goes without saying that the legend in the making regaining his form right before the Manchester derby this weekend only spells disaster for Man United.
The Red Devils looked lacklustre in their previous game at home in the 2-1 defeat to Fulham and they haven’t won at the Etihad Stadium in their last three visits, while the Blues are now unbeaten in their last 18. Sunday is going to be a blockbuster.
You can watch the highlights from Manchester City’s emphatic FA Cup victory over Luton and yet another star showing from Erling Haaland down below: