A limited number of replica Mary Earps goalkeeping shirts are finally being made available to buy by England kit manufacturer Nike.
Earps had said prior to the World Cup it was “hugely disappointing and very hurtful” that the replica kits were not available to purchase.
Calls for Nike to put things right have grown louder over the last week – including from former sports minister Tracey Crouch – after Earps saved a penalty for England in Sunday’s World Cup final against Spain, with England ultimately slipping to a 1-0 defeat.
And the company has now acted, with a spokesperson saying on Thursday: “We’ve seen and share the unprecedented passion and interest in women’s football this year and remain committed to playing our part by offering the best products and services to athletes and fans.
“We invested more in this year’s World Cup than any other global tournament to date. Nike has secured limited quantities of goalkeeper jerseys for England, (the United States), France and the Netherlands to be sold through the federation websites over the coming days, and we are also in conversations with our other federation partners.
“We recognise that during the tournament we didn’t serve those fans who wished to show their passion and support to the squad’s goalkeepers. We are committed to retailing women’s goalkeeping jerseys for major tournaments in the future.”
Crouch welcomed the news and posted on Twitter: “I find it extraordinary that a major brand got themselves into this pickle in 1st place but now it will be very interesting to see what “limited quantity” means and if they come in all sizes, as I suspect a large number of fans of all ages & shapes will want one.”
UK culture secretary Lucy Frazer added on the social media platform: “Overdue, but the right move from @Nike.
“Just when thousands of women and girls across the nation are being inspired to get into football, thanks to the likes of Mary Earps, goalkeepers must be given the same recognition as outfield players.
“As Karen Carney’s report made clear, there is vast investment potential to help grow the women’s game.
“It’s no longer acceptable to claim there isn’t a market for producing replica shirts. I look forward to seeing fans wearing the shirt when @Lionesses play next month.”
Earps’ club Manchester United confirmed her number 27 shirt was the second best-selling women’s replica shirt so far this season, behind England teammate Ella Toone.