Earps still in contract talks with Man Utd after ‘punching bag’ season

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Earps still in contract talks with Man Utd after ‘punching bag’ season

Mary Earps says contract talks are ongoing with Manchester United after feeling she has been a “punching bag” this season.

The England goalkeeper has spent the last five years with United but her current deal is set to expire this summer.

United turned down a world-record offer for a goalkeeper in women’s football when Arsenal came in for Earps last year and PSG were also interested in signing the 31-year-old during the January window.

Earps helped United to win the Women’s FA Cup this season although the club had a disappointing Women’s Super League campaign, finishing fifth, and the goalkeeper now wants assurances over the club’s ambitions before deciding on her future.

“The honest reality is that conversations are still ongoing,” Earps told Sky Sports News. “I’ve been clear I don’t want to make an emotional decision.

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Mary Earps says winning the FA Cup win makes a difficult season worth it.

“The beginning of the season was really tough, I felt really upset about things that were being said about me and things that came out that weren’t true.

“I’ve tried to be professional, keep my head down, work hard, get on with my job and that’s been hard. I’ve been a punching bag at times.

“I’ve tried to shoulder the responsibility of the team and the performance and where we fell short this season. That’s what you should do as a leader and as a more experienced player you have to stand up in those moments.

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Highlights of the Women’s Super League match between Manchester United and Chelsea.

“I know I’ve given my heart and soul for the whole season. It’s a tough situation.

“I’ve asked the club for some confirmation on what they’re trying to achieve and when I have those answers I’ll be able to make a decision. It’s up to the club.”

Skinner: I want Earps to stay

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Marc Skinner discusses his desire to keep Mary Earps at Manchester United despite her being out of contract and Izzy Christiansen explains why she is such an important asset to the side.

United will be keen to avoid a similar situation to last year, which saw star players Alessia Russo and Ona Batlle leave on free transfers after lengthy contract negotiations with the club.

Man Utd manager Marc Skinner reiterated his desire for Earps to stay at the club following their 6-0 defeat against Chelsea on the final day of the WSL season.

“I’d love to work with Mary. Conversations are still ongoing. All I can do is work on my relationship with Mary and what we do on the field,” Skinner told Sky Sports.

“I’d love her to stay but there are moments outside of the club representatives need to achieve. It’s important we don’t put the player in that. It’s not about Mary in this moment, it’s about representatives meeting.

“I really enjoy working with Mary and hope I can continue to do that.”

Mary Earps celebrates Man Utd's victory over Chelsea

Earps won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award in December for her string of impressive performances as the Lionesses reached the Women’s World Cup final, with the goalkeeper saving a penalty from Jenni Hermoso in the 1-0 defeat to Spain.

Earps’ popularity was summed up when Nike initially refused to sell her England replica goalkeeper shirt, only for it to sell out in five minutes after the sports manufacturers performed a U-turn.

Christiansen: Earps can play at a higher level

Sky Sports’ Izzy Christiansen said:

“She’s been a consistently high performer off the back of two terrific major tournaments with England where she’s really taken her career up a notch.

“For Manchester United, if there’s a player in their XI who goes on and plays at a higher level, it’s Mary Earps.”

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