I would put my shirt on Declan - Gunn
David Cuffley Manager Bryan Gunn insists he would have no worries about pressing teenage goalkeeper Declan Rudd into first team duty for Norwich City should the need arise next season.
Manager Bryan Gunn insists he would have no worries about pressing teenage goalkeeper Declan Rudd into first team duty for Norwich City should the need arise next season.
The 18-year-old has been called up to the England squad for European Under-19 Championship qualifying matches this week.
And as Rudd prepares for possible dates with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovakia and Scotland over the next seven days, Gunn believes the bigger the challenge, the better he responds. “Declan has been training with Paul Crichton since the other lads dispersed because of being on standby for England,” said the City boss.
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“Now because of an injury to Alex Smithies it's another opportunity for him at the end of the season after some great performances in the youth team and the FA Youth Cup.
“I hope over the course of the week he will get the chance to perform for England. It's another feather in his cap, and another goalkeeper off the production line for Norwich City.”
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The Canaries' senior goalkeeping position for next season is vacant after the sale of Scotland international David Marshall, ever present for the past two seasons, to Cardiff City following relegation from the Championship.
Gunn has had talks with reserve team 'keeper Stuart Nelson, who is out of contract next month, but has yet to make any announcement on his future. At the very least, Rudd, from Diss, looks a good bet to be a regular on the substitutes' bench in League One.
Asked if he would have any reservations about playing him if needed, Gunn said: “Not at all. He has the temperament and the technique. It would be going into the unknown, but he thrives on the big opportunity. So far, the bigger the game the better the quality he produces.
“Declan is someone who comes into our thoughts for the first team consideration and there is an opportunity for him to join in with our training and to impress in pre-season.”
Rudd will be hoping to make his first appearance for England Under-19s after featuring at both under-16 and under-17 levels.
Brian Eastick's team are bidding to secure a place in the finals of the European Championship in Ukraine in July.
The Bosnia game is at Doncaster Rovers' Keepmoat Stadium tomorrow, followed by games against Slovakia at Valley Parade, Bradford, on Friday, and Scotland at Bramall Lane, Sheffield, next Monday.
It completes an extended season for City's two bright goalkeeping prospects at international level after 16-year-old Jed Steer appeared for England in the European Under-17 Championships in Germany.
Gunn said he hoped to see City's Academy prospects involved in the first team next season.
He said: “They should be working hard on their training programmes put together by Mark Garfoot and it's down to them to take that programme on board.
“At the end of June they will be back for fitness testing and then come back into pre-season training. It's down to them to take the opportunity given to them. At the moment they make up a significant number of our first team squad.”