Shot stopper Evie Mitchell is hoping to follow in the footsteps of idol Mary Earps

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The old adage goes that ‘you should never meet your heroes’.

But for aspiring young Preston goalkeeper Evie Mitchell, the saying could not be further from the truth.

The 13-year-old youngster, who hails from Ashton, met one of her idols recently – and she was certainly not left disappointed when she chatted with current England No.1 Mary Earps.

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It was an inspiring meeting for Mitchell, who one day dreams of following in the footsteps of Earps – for both club and country.

Aspiring goalkeeper Evie Mitchell with current England and Manchester United No.1 Mary EarpsAspiring goalkeeper Evie Mitchell with current England and Manchester United No.1 Mary Earps
Aspiring goalkeeper Evie Mitchell with current England and Manchester United No.1 Mary Earps

As well as being the first choice for the Three Lions, the 30-year-old is also Manchester United’s goalkeeper.

She had made 47 appearances for England – famously helping them to win the European Championships on home soil in 2022 and reach the World Cup final in Australia last year.

It may well be that once Earps hangs up her gloves, she will be replaced by Mitchell who plays in goals for United’s Under-15s team and was recently called up by the national youth set-up.

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The pair had a brief but interesting chat and Earps will not have failed to notice the stature of the youngster, who is already one or two inches taller than herself.

Manchester United youth ace Evie MitchellManchester United youth ace Evie Mitchell
Manchester United youth ace Evie Mitchell

Evie’s father Neil said: “Evie’s been attending England women’s high performance goalkeeping sessions.

"She goes to Manchester every week and has done so for the past four years – although obviously it was closed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"What the Football Association did was arrange for her and the rest of the goalkeepers to go down to the national football centre at St George’s Park.

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"They got the England team to train with them and she got a signed shirt and that’s where she met Mary.

"She’s actually the same height as Mary if not a bit taller so hopefully she will keep growing a bit more.

"She also met the coach Sarina Wiegman

"I think Evie got to ask a question of Mary and few of the other England players during a question-and-answer session.

"She asked, ‘What advice would you give to your 13-year-old self?’

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"I think they replied by saying to be confident and don’t worry about setbacks. If you do get setbacks, just put them to one side and be resilient."

Evie has certainly shown a determination in her young life and that was rewarded recently when she was selected for England Schools’ Under-15s forthcoming tour of Ireland.

"She went through four rounds of trials, culminating in the final and she was chosen,” said Neil.

“They will be going to an England camp next month and then will play games against Northern Ireland, Ireland and Scotland in Dublin a month later.

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"Evie was chosen as the No.1 and there is another girl who will wear the No.13 shirt, so that will be a good experience to get an England cap.”

The youngster’s love affair with the game began when she started playing ‘wallie’ with her twin brother Oliver and dad.

"She’s always been a goalie and she’s quite adept with her feet – that has all come from the wallie.

"I used to say to her, ‘Kick it with your left foot not just your right.

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"She started off at Preston North End for one year and played for Blackburn Rovers for four years before moving to United.

"She’s also played for the town team and Lancashire.”

England’s success in recent years has certainly been a motivating factor for Evie.

She watched England’s opening 1-0 win over Austria at the Euros in 2022 live.

And she has seen Earps, in particular, win a number of individual awards most notably the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

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"Her dream is definitely to play for England one day,” said Neil.

“There is a real feel-good factor around the women’s game at the moment with England’s success and especially with Mary who won pretty much every award going.

"She has put goalkeeping on the map and so for Evie to see that is great.

"We actually went to watch the opening game of the Euros at Old Trafford when England beat Austria.

"We have also been to a number of Manchester United’s home games when they have played at Leigh Sports Village and also Old Trafford."