England goalkeeper Mary Earps has been voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2023.
Earps, 30, was the Lionesses’ standout player as they reached a first World Cup final in the summer and was rewarded with the Golden Glove for the best goalkeeper at the tournament.
She is the second women’s footballer in succession to win the BBC award.
England cricketer Stuart Broad was second, with world heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson third.
Jockey Frankie Dettori, wheelchair tennis player Alfie Hewett and golfer Rory McIlroy were also shortlisted for the award by a panel of experts, with the winner decided by a public vote.
“It feels pretty great off the back of a couple of really big years and 2023 has been wild in ways I couldn’t expect,” Earps said as she collected the award.
“I’m really, really grateful.”
Earps, who plays her club football for Manchester United, follows Lionesses team-mate Beth Mead in being named Sports Personality of the Year.
After tennis player Emma Raducanu’s success in 2021, she is the third woman to win it in a row – the first time that has happened since the 1960s.
Earps played every minute of England’s seven World Cup matches, conceding only four goals and keeping three clean sheets as well as saving a penalty in the final, which England lost 1-0 to Spain.
She was previously part of England’s Euro 2022 triumph, helping the Lionesses win their first major trophy.
“I would not be here without my team-mates with the Lionesses and at Manchester United because we’ve achieved some incredible things over the last couple of years,” said Earps.
“While individual accolades are great, they only come after team success. This is their trophy just as much as mine.”
The Fifa Best Women’s Goalkeeper was voted England Women’s Player of the Year for 2022-23 and finished fifth in the voting for the Ballon d’Or award.
The BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year was also an integral part as England won the inaugural Women’s Finalissima with a penalty shootout defeat of Brazil in April.
In domestic football, Earps claimed the Women’s Super League Golden Glove for the 2022-23 season with Manchester United, having kept a record 14 clean sheets.
She also became the first goalkeeper to keep 50 clean sheets in the WSL, and has been linked with a move to Arsenal.
Earps’ journey to the top has not been a straightforward one – she was an outcast and on the brink of retirement before emerging as one of the most globally recognised goalkeepers in women’s football.
Having sat on the bench as England’s third-choice goalkeeper at the 2019 World Cup, Earps was not included in Phil Neville’s next Lionesses squad and would not represent her country until 2021.
But she has turned her fortunes around, and is now England and United’s undisputed number one.
She has become a firm fan favourite, and the latest batch of replica Earps England goalkeeper shirts sold out within five minutes after kit supplier Nike faced a backlash having failed to produce any during the World Cup.
“I feel like I always committed to myself that anything that came after that [tough] period would be a bonus,” said Earps.
“It hasn’t stopped yet and I’m just trying to make the most of everything that comes my way because when it stops you miss it.”
Earps, who away from football has a degree in information management and business studies, is stopped for photographs, spotted at airports and in the street – and even has a bus and a tram named after her in her hometown Nottingham.
But the keeper’s hopes of more accolades on the world stage took a blow after England failed to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics on behalf of Great Britain.
Presented by Gary Lineker, Clare Balding, Gabby Logan and Alex Scott, the Sports Personality of the Year 2023 was broadcast live from MediaCityUK, Salford.
Helen Rollason Award: Fatima Whitbread
Coach of the Year: Pep Guardiola
Team of the Year: Manchester City
Young Sports Personality of the Year: Mia Brookes
Lifetime Achievement: Sir Kenny Dalglish
Unsung Hero: Des Smith
World Sport Star: Erling Haaland