England too focused to absorb excitement around Euro campaign: Mary Earps

Mary Earps insists she has “no doubt” the country is behind England, despite admitting the Lionesses have been exposed to little of the fervor surrounding their progress to Euro 2022.

Ahead of their final Group A match against Northern Ireland in Southampton on Friday, Sarina Wiegman’s side have already qualified for the quarter-finals after achieving the biggest win in the history of the competition with their historic 8-0 thrashing. to Norway on Monday.

Northern Ireland, meanwhile, are out of their first major tournament after successive 4-1 and 2-0 defeats to Norway and Austria respectively, but will play with pride against the host nation.

England goalkeeper Earps has not conceded a goal in England’s two games so far, but says it is only around the pitch that the team has witnessed the excitement generated by their bid for European glory.

“Knowing the English people, I have absolutely no doubt that the country has our backs,” Earps said.

“It’s not something that we as players have gotten too involved with because, to be honest, we’re so focused on our bubble that it’s not something that we hear and feel too much, other than when we walk into the stadium and hear the roars of the crowd. crowd, which has obviously been fantastic.

“To be honest, for the first time we have witnessed that in terms of…playing major tournaments away from home, you don’t realize how much fun that can be and it pushes you forward in terms of your participation in the game. play. and really striving to achieve such a high level of performance and excellence.

“You feel a real responsibility because you want to do that, not only for your teammates, but also for the people who come to watch, of course.

“But it’s not something we’re getting too involved with. I have no doubt that everyone at home is doing it and we want to make the nation proud as best we can, and the way we’re going to do that is to perform at a high level and the standards that we’ve set. in every game.”

England put eight goals against Norway (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The Lionesses have maintained their unbeaten record under Wiegman through the first two games of the tournament, having scored 93 goals in their 16 games since he took over in September 2021.

Against Northern Ireland, Wiegman will focus on consistency rather than rotation as he looks to maintain his team’s high standards, even though he is already assured of advancing to the next stage of the competition.

“I believe in rhythm,” Wiegman said.

“I think when you have nine days between the game in Norway and the quarterfinals, that’s too long, I think you need more rhythm and keep the focus and keep playing.

“So I couldn’t expect a lot of rotations. Probably during the game, but not before.”

She added: “We have 22 players and we can only let 11 start. We will do what we believe in and give ourselves the best chance to win the next game and yes of course some players will be disappointed but we continue to communicate and be clear about what we are doing and why we are doing it. it’s.”

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