England invite over a HUNDRED young goalkeepers to watch the Lionesses in training – and hand out goalkeeper kits just weeks after Mary Earps’ jersey sold out following World Cup backlash
- The young keepers came from FA’s Future Lionesses Goalkeeping Centres
- As well as watching training, players got to meet Wiegman’s shot-stoppers
- Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’
The Lionesses opened their international preparations to 103 young goalkeepers and offered them the opportunity to meet England stars including Player of the Year Mary Earps.
As well as observing Sarina Wiegman’s side training ahead of their international ties against Belgium in two Nations League fixtures, the junior players – aged between 10 and 16 – took to the pitches at St George’s Park for their own session.
They were then allowed to take part in a Q&A with Earps, and her international team-mates Hannah Hampton, Ellie Roebuck, and Khiara Keating.
The young players were chosen from England’s Future Lioness Goalkeeping Centres, which were founded by the FA with the aim of providing a pathway for future internationals.
As per ITV, the players were also given an England goalkeeper shirt – just weeks after a run of Mary Earps’ jerseys sold out hours after their launch.
England invited 103 young goalkeepers to watch the Lionesses’ international training
The players were also treated to the opportunity to take part in a Q&A with goalkeepers including England No 1 Mary Earps
As well as watching training, the junior players from FA goalkeeping centres were also able to take part in their own session
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Nike came under fire during this summer’s Women’s World Cup for failing to stock the shirt of the Lionesses’ No 1.
Already winner of FIFA’s The Best award for her achievements for club and country at the start of 2023, Earps was named Goalkeeper of the Tournament after England’s heartbreaking defeat to Spain in August’s final.
But fans were unable to get their hands on a goalkeeper shirt, in a move which the Manchester United player called ‘deeply hurtful’.
The sportswear brand received widespread backlash for the decision, and were targeted with a petition to urge them to stock the shirt signed by over 170,000 people.
It is understood Nike originally decided against selling Earps’ shirt for commercial reasons but a U-turn was made in August when they announced they would retail limited quantities.
The goalkeeper shirts were finally put on sale on at the start of October – three months after the conclusion of the global contest – in green, yellow and pink.
But several fans missed out on the chance to buy one because no announcement had been made that they were available, with eagle-eyed supporters quickly pouncing on those available.
Taking to her Instagram story, Earps reassured fans they will soon have another chance to buy themselves a jersey, writing: ‘Didn’t realise these were going onsale today. And you’ve sold them out already!
‘More are coming before the end of the year and in more sizes (kids and adults) so stay tuned! Thank you all for your incredible support on this. You guys have made this happen!’
A statement from Nike in August read: ‘The England GK jersey will be available in limited quantities on the FA’s website, in the coming weeks, and we are currently working to make youth GK jerseys available by the holiday season.’
Along with Earps, the young goalkeepers had the chance to meet Keating, who received her first call-up to senior duty under Wiegman.
The Manchester City starlet has impressed domestically and could be set to earn her first cap at just 19.
Fans were unable to buy Earps’ goalkeeping jersey until three months after the end of the summer’s World Cup
The young goalkeepers also had the opportunity to meet England debutant Khiara Keating
Wiegman also named Fran Kirby to her latest squad for the back-to-back meetings with Belgium, marking her return to camp after missing out on the World Cup due to injury.
But Beth Mead’s wait for a place under Wiegman once again will go on a little, after the manager opted not to call her up as she continues to play herself back to form.
Mead ruptured her ACL in 2022, keeping her out of contention for Australia, but is gradually reasserting herself for Arsenal.
The 2022 Sports Personality of the Year assisted England team-mate Alessia Russo during Arsenal’s victory against Aston Villa at their Emirates in one of the Gunners’ last ties before the international break.
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