Craig Brown backs ‘John Ruddy for England’ call
The call from England may not have arrived just yet, but John Ruddy’s old boss in Scotland believes it should – and wishes his own country could lay claim to the Norwich City goalkeeper.
Former Scotland manager Craig Brown was Ruddy’s boss during the stopper’s loan spell at Motherwell for the 2009-10 season and has seen more than enough to sing high praise of the Canaries number one.
Since joining City from Everton once his spell at Fir Park ended, Ruddy has been in excellent and improving form – playing a key role in City’s Championship promotion and now their impressive start to life back in the top flight.
That includes Saturday’s wonder save from Luis Suarez to earn a point at Liverpool.
Such is Ruddy’s form, the 25-year-old is being touted for a call-up to Fabio Capello’s squad ahead of Wembley friendlies with Spain and Sweden next month as England prepare for next summer’s European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.
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Manchester City stopper Joe Hart, Scott Carson – currently playing for Turkish S�per Lig side Bursaspor – and Fulham keeper David Stockdale, on loan to Championship side and Norwich’s rivals Ipswich Town, got the nod for England’s final qualifier in Montenegro earlier this month.
However, current Aberdeen boss Brown – who managed Scotland from 1993-2002 – is clear where his vote to be involved in Capello’s goalkeeping trio would go.
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“I do wish he was Scottish,” acknowledged Brown. “I wouldn’t presume to pick the England team but I would fully endorse it if they thought of John Ruddy. You know you are getting a top class goalkeeper and from what I’ve seen, he is as good as any of the others.”
Having spent a successful campaign personally at Cambridge United in the Football League as an 18-year-old – the Us were demoted that season – Everton swooped; loans at Walsall, Rushden & Diamonds, Chester, Stockport (twice), Wrexham, Bristol City and Crewe followed.
But it was Ruddy’s season in Scotland that paved the way for his reported �250,000 switch to Norwich in July last year – and all that has happened since.
“I’m not at all surprised John has done so well at Norwich,” added Brown. “He was a nice lad as well, John. An outstanding player.
“When I went to Motherwell my goalkeeping coach who was a former Scotland international at Under-21s, Stewart Kerr, said to me this is the best goalkeeper he had worked with.
“That was proved to be absolutely correct. He was outstanding for Motherwell, commanding.”
A total of 14 SPL clean sheets in 34 matches backs up Brown’s assertion – and the Dons manager also believes four visits to the Old Firm that season helped prepare Ruddy for his present rise.
“Now the Scottish Premier League is nothing like as difficult an environment as he’s in with Norwich the English Premier League,” said the ex-Well boss.
“But you do go to bigger venues than most. When you go to Celtic Park you play in front of 60,000 and when you go to Ibrox you’ve got 52, 000 – and he wasn’t fazed by any of that.
“He was very, very confident and very assured, and what I liked about him was he was a really hard working and modest guy.
“So no praise is high enough for John Ruddy.”