During the Tokyo Olympics, there was no doubt that Ellie Roebuck was the number one shot-stopper for Team GB. Now she faces a challenger in the form of Mary Earps.
Is Mary Earps England’s best goalkeeper?
During the Tokyo Olympics, there was no doubt that Ellie Roebuck was the number one shot-stopper for Team GB. Hege Riise had complete faith in the Manchester City goalkeeper, and her form for Team GB indicated a potential future as England’s number one. Her impressive performances would lead punters to always back England to do well with a football bet.
As a regular for Manchester City since the 2017-18 season, and having picked up her first England cap in 2018, Roebuck has been destined for the top for years now. However, a calf injury has kept her out for much of the 2021-22 season, which Roebuck missing a large chunk of the league season, as well as a number of international games.
Roebuck’s spell on the sidelines handed Mary Earps an opportunity with the national team. The Manchester United number one had an impressive league season, as her side threatened to capitalise on City’s slow start. While they couldn’t usurp their local rivals, several United players shone. Forward Alessia Russo has worked her way into England contention, and the same is true of Earps.
With Roebuck only able to watch on, Earps has been a natural replacement, and at 29 years old, is more experienced than the City number one, who is only 22. Earps has pulled off world-class saves on a regular basis for Marc Skinner’s side. To complicate matters further, Hannah Hampton made her debut for England this year.
The 21-year-old signed for Aston Villa in 2021, and has been a regular for the Midlands outfit, immediately earning the number one shirt. While she’s not likely to be England’s custodian in Euro 2022, her debut against a dangerous Spain side caught the eye. Aside from her ability to keep the ball out of the back of the net, her distribution was also impressive. Even if she isn’t trusted with gloves, simply due to being the youngest of the trio, her presence in the squad emphasises England’s strength in depth in the position.
Recall for Mary Earps
Earps’ recall by Sarina Wiegman marked something of a change of fortunes for her. She had been left looking in from the outside under previous boss Phil Neville, with Earps having no involvement with the national team since 2019. She has been a consistent feature in the side too, and will almost certainly be England’s number one going into the tournament, with the manager’s backing.
However, an argument in Roebuck’s favour is her club side. Man City tend to try and play a more progressive style of football which, in theory, showcases a more well-rounded goalkeeper, with a need for Roebuck to be comfortable on the ball, a trait that would be more than useful in Wiegman’s team.
Furthermore, eight international appearances under her belt at 22 years old is testament to how highly rated Roebuck is. She won the Women’s Super League Golden Glove in 2020, and also has experience of playing at a very high level, with Champions League experience to go alongside her Olympics campaign in Japan.
Even if she doesn’t start as England’s number one, she will likely get a change to impress at some stage in her first major tournament with England. Earps may well wear the gloves for now, but there’s no doubting that she will have her hands full before long. Roebuck and Hampton, as well as the likes of Arsenal’s Fran Stenson in the future, will be eager for regular England call ups, and a strong tournament from Earps could be necessary to ensuring that she holds on to the number one spot for the near future.