April 21 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Norwich City keeper John Ruddy believes his predecessor Fraser Forster may have to head south to make his international breakthrough.
Hexham-born Forster has been linked with a permanent move from Newcastle to Premier League rivals QPR and West Ham this summer after two successful season-long loan spells at Celtic following his pivotal role in the Canaries’ 2010 League One title win.
Bhoys’ boss Neil Lennon wants to tie up a £2m move from St James’ Park for the 24-year-old – but reports yesterday suggested Forster and his agent are set for further talks this week to try and thrash out personal terms on a potential Parkhead switch.
Ruddy feels Forster stands a better chance of joining him in the England picture operating in the Premier League, after he was overlooked by Roy Hodgson as a back-up option when Ruddy himself was ruled out of the European Championships with a broken finger injury.
“Moving to the Premier League is something Forster has to look at,” said Ruddy, who has enjoyed a stellar rise to the England ranks since Paul Lambert rescued him from a similar Scottish loan spell at Motherwell.
“You will always be a step behind if you’re in the SPL trying to break into the England squad. That’s no disrespect to the Scottish league because it helped me so much as a player – and has helped so many others along the way.
“But if you can get into the Premier League down here then it’s a help. They say it’s a goldfish bowl in Scotland with Rangers and Celtic, but down here everything’s scrutinised.
“There are highlights shown in every country in the world, all the attention you get from being in the English Premier League is magnified tenfold. I don’t know how many times Fraser has been scouted or looked at but in the last two seasons he has done exceptionally well at Parkhead.
“If he continues to develop, whether that be at Celtic or anywhere else, then he has a fantastic opportunity. Fraser has the potential to be a Premier League keeper.”
Ruddy admitted Forster was a tough act to follow when he initially arrived at Carrow Road to replace City’s League One title winner.
“There was a lot made about Norwich wanting to keep Fraser and I understood that before I came here,” he told the Daily Record. “Trying to live up to what he did the season before was a big ask, but we got promoted from the Championship so it was a great year as far as I was concerned. But staying in the Premier League has been my biggest achievement.
“People used to tell me that I had the frame to go a long way. Fraser certainly has that was as well. He has been superb for Celtic and capped it off this year with the title win. He will take that confidence into wherever he will be next year and continue with his development.”
Ex-Norwich boss Lambert drafted in Ruddy after failing to entice Forster back to Norfolk, but the Scot’s earliest impressions of the England keeper were less than favourable.
“It is funny but myself and Ian (Culverhouse) went to watch him for Crewe at MK Dons when we were at Wycombe and we had the idea that it might be possible to get him there,” said Lambert.
“We thought going to the game we might get a sniff of him, but he had an absolute stinker.
“We also saw him when he was at Stockport and I thought to myself, ‘No.’ I decided against him at that time, but when Fraser went and it was clear we wouldn’t be able to get him back again I knew John had had a really good season at Motherwell.
“There was that clamour to sign Fraser, but with the finances we just couldn’t do that. I wanted somebody with the same stature, a big goalkeeper, and John had that. I trusted him, but even John, if you asked him, would have known that coming to Norwich with what Fraser had done that things might be a bit ropey for him.
“He let a goal in against Everton in a pre-season friendly and I told him not to worry and that it would come and for virtually the whole of the Championship year and the Premier League he was brilliant.”