Upbeat in the face of England's early exit, goalkeeper Mary Earps sat down with UEFA.com to discuss what the future holds for her and some of the younger Lions in Mo Marley's squad.
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England may have suffered defeats in their opening two games in a fiercely competitive Group B at the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship, but goalkeeper Mary Earps has been a vocal and commanding presence throughout. Articulate and upbeat despite the 2009 champions' early exit, the Doncaster Rovers Belles custodian spoke to UEFA.com about her beginnings and future in the game, and dealing with Spanish livewire Amanda Sampedro.
UEFA.com: How did you first get into football?
Mary Earps: When I was about eight I saw my brother playing football in the back garden and wanted to get involved, so I joined his team. Then once I turned around ten or 11, I joined a girls' team and I've been playing all the time since.
UEFA.com: Have you always been a goalkeeper and what qualities do you think make a good No1?
Earps: No, I started out a midfielder actually but I was soon 'demoted' to being in goal, and once I saved a penalty in a game that was it! I'm quite loud, I like to think that I'm quite brave, willing to go for it and give it absolutely everything.
UEFA.com: What obstacles do you think girls and young women face in the game?
Earps: I think obviously there's the stereotype that women can't play football as well as men, and of course the men's game is currently more developed as it's been established for a lot longer. But there's definitely some ways where the women's game is more positive, for example there's not as much diving and I think it's more entertaining to watch.
UEFA.com: Which opposition player has most impressed you so far?
Earps: Spain's No10 [Amanda Sampedro] was their most penetrating player yesterday. She has very quick feet and is able to switch the ball from one foot to another very quickly. Even though we often knew what she was going to do, we still couldn't really handle it which shows how good she is.
UEFA.com: What are your ambitions for the future on and off the pitch?
Earps: Well, I'm currently waiting for my A-level results so that kind of determines what I'll do in terms of my education, but as for football I'm just looking to keep improving and keep enjoying the game. I'd love to play for a top WSL side, play in the Champions League and play senior international football. If I could achieve that then all my hopes and dreams would have come true.