Updated: Thursday, 14th December 2017 @ 4:23pm

SSE Women's FA Cup: England keeper Earps praises Man City's 'incredible' Bardsley at second round draw

SSE Women's FA Cup: England keeper Earps praises Man City's 'incredible' Bardsley at second round draw

| By Jimmy Booker

Goalkeeper Karen Bardsley has been a presence between the England sticks for 12 years.

And the mass of experience the 33-year-old brings to the international scene does not go to waste, with fellow England stopper Mary Earps praising the presence of the Manchester City custodian among the camp.

Earps (above right) revealed the goalkeepers’ union was a unique club to be part of anywhere in the game, with number ones learning from each other all the time.

And the Reading star added Manchester City’s Bardsley, who has won 70 caps but has not played for England since breaking her leg during their Euro 2017 campaign in July, was one of the best in the business to pick up tips from when it came to fine tuning her own game.

“Karen is a fantastic goalkeeper, there’s some incredible attributes that she has that I try and learn from,” said Earps, who made her international debut against Switzerland in June.

Like Bardsley, she is part of the squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Bosnia & Herzegovina and Kazakhstan on November 24 and 28.

“We have conversations at camps and bounce ideas off her and that’s really important in the goalkeeping group.

“It’s a really difficult dynamic as a goalkeeper, you’re almost an individual in a team sport, which is a phrase I came across recently and that’s really true.

“I think you can feel very lonely sometimes because a lot of things are out of our control and that can be very difficult.

“But to learn and listen and take on as much as possible from the experience around you whether that’s a staff member, a defender, another goalkeeper like Karen Bardsley, who has got so many caps for England, I just try and learn and absorb as much as I possibly can.”

Earps, along with Reading team-mate Harriet Scott, performed the draw for the second round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup at the company’s headquarters in Reading on Monday.

Teams from the FA Women’s Premier League divisions and below will contest the ties on December 3, with Reading not set to enter until later in the competition.

Earps, 24, missed out on a place in the squad for this summer’s European Championships in the Netherlands, but was called back into the international fold for the recent qualifying win against Russia and friendly defeat against France.

And to be involved in the squad once more, and getting her bow between the England sticks, is a dream come true for Earps.

“It means the absolute world to me to represent my country, it’s something I’ve dreamed of ever since I was a little girl,” she added.

“I was writing stories about it since I was five or six, it’s incredible to play in that standard of training, around some of the best players in the world.

“I can’t even put [my debut] into words. It was a great feeling and a really proud moment for myself and my family – hopefully one which will happen again in the not so distant future.

“I’m just trying to do as much as I can to improve as a person and a player and keep pushing on.”

Tickets are now on sale for the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final on Saturday 5th May at Wembley Stadium connected by EE. For more information about tickets and what SSE do for women’s football, visit www.sponsorship.sse.com