News that Mary Earps had withdrawn from the Lionesses squad ahead of a crunch Euro 2025 qualifier against France was met with shock from fans - but in the England dressing room, there was only calm.

Earps, 31, was forced off during the reigning European champions' 2-1 defeat to France on Friday, the first match of a crucial double header against Herve Renard's group leaders.

The Manchester United goalkeeper appeared to pull up with a hip injury within a minute of the match starting after dealing with a simple back pass from her defence. After attendance from the England medical team, the World No 1 attempted to play on but was eventually subbed off after being unable to proceed.

Chelsea's Hannah Hampton replaced Earps, who eventually withdrew altogether from the England squad over the weekend as she deals with a minor hip injury.

The loss of Earps was viewed as another significant blow on a difficult night for Sarina Wiegman's side, who laboured to show much spark against France without the mercurial talent of Lauren James, who was also forced to withdraw with a foot injury.

Earps has been a stalwart in Wiegman's side since the Dutch manager arrived on scene and placed faith in the Nottingham-born shot-stopper, giving her a platform from which she swiftly established herself as one of the best keepers in the women's game.

But the loss of Earps has not rocked the English dressing room as greatly as some might have suspected, with Bayern Munich midfielder Georgia Stanway attesting to the comparable quality and pedigree that Hampton brings between the sticks.

"“They're both great goalkeepers," Stanway said after Friday's loss. "You can play either one of them and you know exactly what you're gonna get and I think that's what's special. Either one, you feel safe with them behind you and for an outfield player that's exactly what you want."

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - MAY 31: Mary Earps of England goes down with an injury during the UEFA Women's EURO 2025 qualifying match between England and France at St James' Park on May 31, 2024 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images) (
Image:
2024 Getty Images)

Like Earps, Hampton too spent time away from the England set-up with her career stilted at a dubious crossroads. Yet, a move from Aston Villa to Chelsea last summer and faith entrusted her by ex-Blues boss Emma Hayes has since seen Hampton's career resurrected with eye-catching verve, resulting in Hampton's recall into the England national team.

"You can see the way that Hannah distributes the ball is world-class," Stanway said of the Chelsea No 1. "The passes that she was making into full-back areas were unbelievable. To come on at [eight] minutes, it's completely different circumstances and within the first five she pulls off a save like that so that shows the type of goalkeeper she is.

"I know she's had her head down and she's been working really hard at Chelsea and she's got her place at Chelsea, she's been playing games. She deserved it tonight. Obviously, we hope that Mary is okay and she recovers well but like I said, you could play either one of them you know exactly what you're going to get because they’re both world-class.”

England face France on Tuesday night in Saint-Etienne, France, at 8pm.

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