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Mary Earps favourite for Sports Personality of the Year award after World Cup heroics

England goalkeeper Mary Earps is believed to be the favourite for the BBC’s 2023 Sports Personality of the Year prize ahead of the likes of Rory McIlroy and Stuart Broad.

Bookmakers have made the 30-year-old goalkeeper the odds-on choice to win the prestigious award after she played a key role in England’s run to the Women’s World Cup final in the summer.

She is joined on a six-person shortlist by cricketer Stuart Broad, jockey Frankie Dettori, athlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson, tennis player Alfie Hewett and golfer Rory McIlroy.

Earps saved a penalty from Spain’s Jennifer Hermoso in the World Cup final but the Lionesses were unable to add to their 2022 European crown as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat in Sydney. Earps was awarded the FIFA Golden Glove as the tournament’s best goalkeeper.

In September she was also voted as England Women’s Player of the Year and helped her club Manchester United finish second in the Women’s Super League last season with 14 clean sheets.

Her future at United is uncertain however, with Earps’ contract with the club due to expire next summer.

Earps also hit the headlines early on in the World Cup when she spoke about the hurt she felt that sportswear manufacturer Nike had not made her England goalkeeper’s replica jersey available to purchase before the tournament.

After mounting pressure, the sports brand released her green long-sleeved Lionesses shirt, and it sold out in five minutes.

Broad announced he was retiring from cricket during the fifth Ashes Test in the summer and bowed out in spectacular fashion. The 37-year-old hit a six off his final ball and took the final wicket as England won the match to level the series, though Australia retained the urn.

Dettori, 53, secured a series of big wins in his farewell year in UK racing including the 2000 Guineas on Chaldean and the Oaks on Soul Sister. He is set to continue riding in the United States next year.

Johnson-Thompson claimed the world heptathlon title for the second time in Budapest in the summer after a calf injury wrecked her hopes of Olympic glory in Tokyo in 2021.

Hewett won seven wheelchair tennis singles tournaments in 2023 including the Australian and US Open titles. He also secured the doubles titles at the Australian and French Opens plus Wimbledon alongside partner Gordon Reid.

McIlroy was a key part of Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup-winning team in October and finished in the top 10 at three of the year’s four majors.

Former Liverpool player and manager Kenny Dalglish will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremony in Salford on Tuesday night.

READ MORE: 2023 BBC Sports Personality of the Year: A closer look at the six nominees

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