Manchester United head coach Marc Skinner says that Mary Earps’ Best FIFA Football award could inspire the next generation of homegrown talent in the city.

The England and Manchester United keeper was named The Best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper at The Best FIFA Football Awards 2022 earlier this week after playing a pivotal role in the Lionesses’ triumph at the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022.

When speaking in a Manchester United press conference, head coach Skinner said that Earps’ award was thoroughly deserved.

“Obviously, it’s a wonderful achievement for anybody, but to happen in-house, she thoroughly deserves it,” Skinner said. “You never know how these awards are going to go. You never know whether the best person actually wins the award, but in this case, she certainly did.

“We’ve made a real fuss of her because she absolutely deserves it. For all the praise we give her, her ability to win things like that just cements the qualities that she has.”

Skinner believes that Earps’ award win could act as a catalyst for growing the next generation of talent in Manchester. He urges the club to capitalise on the opportunities that the award win could bring, such as unearthing homegrown stars of tomorrow.

He said “There’s always an opportunity and I think Ian [Willcock – Manchester United’s goalkeeping coach] is going to try and capitalise on that, especially within England and within the local Manchester area; to try and grow our own Mary Earps going forward and to promote the young players who I’m sure she’s inspired.

“I think what we can use it for is the power within this country to keep growing our own players rather than look all around.

“Let’s give a little bit back to the people and the grassroots.”

The legacy of the Lionesses’ EURO win continues to grow, as does the profile of women’s football in England. Skinner acknowledged the fact that women’s football fans come to Manchester United just to watch their first-choice goalkeeper in action.

He said “The amount of people I see coming to games just to see Mary and obviously, the other [England] girls as well. She is such a popular figure that will inspire the next generation.

“That’s the legacy of the Lionesses.”

Earps will be in action for Manchester United once again when they take on Leicester City at the Leigh Sports Village on Sunday.

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