I'll show you what I can do – Ruddy
Chris Lakey John Ruddy would like to see the back of the F words, Fraser and Forster. The new Canaries keeper has a tough act to follow after last year's heroics by the on-loan Newcastle keeper, who was pursued in vain over the summer by Paul Lambert.
John Ruddy would like to see the back of the F words, Fraser and Forster.
The new Canaries keeper has a tough act to follow after last year's heroics by the on-loan Newcastle keeper, who was pursued in vain over the summer by Paul Lambert.
When Newcastle said no, Lambert turned to Ruddy. And while the Cambridgeshire man's introduction to life at Carrow Road hasn't been a smooth one, he promises it will get better.
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“I'm John Ruddy,” he said “I'm not Fraser Forster. I am not Robert Green. I am not anyone who has been at Norwich before. They have all gone on to their own things and I have done my own things in my career.
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“It hasn't panned out the way I would have liked, but this is now a step for me to say to people, 'this is what I can do and this is where I want to be.”
Ruddy spent last season on loan from Everton at Scottish Premier League side Motherwell, where he performed well enough to attract Lambert's attention. It's a season that Ruddy uses to back his contention that he is up to the job.
“I don't think you can become a bad keeper overnight,” he said. “I went up to the SPL last year, it was a very good learning experience for me. I kept 15 clean sheets up there, the most in the league. You compare that with the likes of Allan McGregor and Artur Boruc - you're not a bad keeper and you don't go up there and do that with a team - no disrespect to Motherwell - but to keep 15 clean sheets and beat the likes of Rangers, Celtic and Hibs is some achievement.
“I understand people really, really liked Fraser, that's fair enough. He did a fantastic job, he helped them win the league, but it is a new start now. It's easy to turn around and say people like Gary Doherty - will they feel the same about Wardy (Elliott Ward)? It's exactly the same thing, you can say it for every position on the pitch, but I am confident in my own ability, that I can come here and keep 15 to 20 clean sheets again.
“That's my aim, and if I don't then I will be disappointed in myself. We will evaluate it at the end of the season. I know in my own head what standards I set for myself and I aim to be as good, if not better, than Fraser.”
The F word, it seems, is now a thing of the past. What about the E word -- Everton? And that goal, when Ruddy let Tim Cahill's tame shot slip through his fingers?
“Unbelievable,” he says, with just a hint of a smile. “You can't legislate for something like that happening. I can do 100 of those exact same shots and pick every single one of them up. For whatever reason it through - and it had to be against them, didn't it?
“The one game you want nothing bad to go wrong and it did. Thankfully it was a pre-season friendly and not a league match, but you pick yourself up and you go again. It's the same with Robert Green. Mine was a friendly, his was the first game in a World Cup, so a lot worse things could have happened.
“I am big enough and ugly enough to deal with that and I will do my best to make sure it doesn't happen again this season. “
Ruddy's first taste of genuine action came in the 3-2 home defeat by Watford eight days ago: he doesn't bring it up in interview, but two of the goals were deflected.
“The first one was a deflection - I would probably have saved the first one,” he said.
“The second one was a good bit of play from their forwards, but we were just a yard off the pace at the back. And the third again was a deflection, but I feel disappointed I didn't get more of a hand to it.”
Some semblance of pride was restored with the 4-1 Carling Cup win over Gillingham, and Ruddy says he has seen an improvement in the defensive unit.
“Obviously if you have new people coming in, as in a goalkeeper and a centre half, they are two vital positions on the pitch, but I think we have got to grips with each other well. I think it was more a case of adapting to life in the Championship and to be fair to Watford, Danny Graham was very good, played very well, and maybe we were just a split second off the ball.
“I was disappointed with my performance on Friday, I didn't think I really let myself get into the game and then I was trying to chase the game instead of waiting for something to happen.
“That's not the way you go about it. “I think it was important having two games that close together to make sure we did bounce back in the right way and what better way than with a 4-1 win.
“We showed on Tuesday we are capable of defending how they did last year so I don't see it being a problem any longer. We have worked on it in training and as a unit we are looking more stronger and compact.”