TV presenter Piers Morgan has been criticised for his reaction to Mary Earps winning the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year award - with some accusing him of going "full Joey Barton" with his comments.

England goalkeeper Earps last night beat the likes of England cricketer Stuart Broad, athlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson and golfer Rory McIlroy to the coveted gong - the third year in a row a female has taken home the prize after Beth Mead last time out and tennis star Emma Raducanu in 2021.

Morgan took to X - formerly known as Twitter - to voice his opinion on the public vote. He said: "Trying to get my head around two of England's women footballers winning BBC SPOTY in successive years… while male sporting superstars with great personalities like Rory McIlroy, Frankie Dettori and Ronnie O'Sullivan have never won it. No offence to Ms Earps, but shouldn't it have been given to someone who actually won something in 2023?"

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SPOTY viewers hit back at Morgan, with one tweeting: "Basically what happened was one year Beth Mead was voted by the public as the winner and then the following year Mary Earps was voted by the public as the winner."

Another added: "She sold more goalkeeper shirts than [Jordan] Pickford. Made girls believe. Brought joy to millions despite making us wake up at stupid times to see the games. She also won the Arnold Clark Cup if that helps your frankly ridiculous argument." And a third said: "Is Morgan going full [Joey] Barton here? Never ever go full Barton!"

"Don’t do a Joey on us now," said another, while a fifth said: "Joey? Is that you?"

Former Newcastle United and Manchester City midfielder Barton, who was until recently managing at Bristol Rovers, has caused a stir over the past few weeks with his social media posts about women in men's football, believing they are not qualified to comment on it. He was invited onto Morgan's TV show to discuss the topic and reaffirmed his stance.

"Everywhere you turn now there's an unqualified opinion commentating and pontificating about the sport I love, it's ruining my experience and it's all to fuel this woke agenda," he told TalkTV show Piers Morgan Uncensored. "And if we're not careful, sexism will rise. It has to be a meritocracy to get people qualified to do these roles."

Earps helped England to the final of the Women's World Cup earlier this year, which they lost to Spain 1-0. She became a household name, winning the Golden Glove and sparked a clamour for replica Nike England top jerseys. Earps said after being named SPOTY: "I feel a bit sick actually! I'm humbled to be on a list of incredible athletes. It's not been the easiest journey and I wouldn't be where I am today without such incredible people in my corner.

"In 2019, after the World Cup, that was the last time I played for England. I stayed out of the England team for quite some time. All these happy memories of the game that I loved didn't make any sense anymore.

"It felt like I had lost my purpose in life. If Sarina hadn't called me up, I never expected to play for England again. There was a time in my life where I thought I would never put on an England shirt again and suddenly I am representing my country at a World Cup. I just feel so grateful that I was able to play for my country on the world stage and enjoy it as much as I did."