Rudd relishing big chance to prove worth with City
Chris Lakey Declan Rudd says he's loving mixing with the big boys now after a commanding performance against St Johnstone yesterday. The 18-year-old from Diss took full advantage of manager Bryan Gunn's decision to share tour duties between him and fellow teenager Jed Steer, leaving new boy Michael Theoklitos to don the gloves when the Canaries return home.
Declan Rudd says he's loving mixing with the big boys now after a commanding performance against St Johnstone yesterday.
The 18-year-old from Diss took full advantage of manager Bryan Gunn's decision to share tour duties between him and fellow teenager Jed Steer, leaving new boy Michael Theoklitos to don the gloves when the Canaries return home.
Rudd is expected to be the Aussie's back-up keeper and his introduction to life in the first team took a leap forward yesterday.
Having been beaten twice in the 7-2 win at Dartford on Saturday, Rudd pulled off three cracking first-half saves yesterday to earn his first clean sheet.
“It's good to get my first clean sheet of the season - it gives me and the defence a bit of confidence,” says the highly-rated youngster.
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“It's brilliant - playing against fully grown men is new to me after playing in the youth team and a few reserve games. The tempo and the physical needs of the game are completely different.
“But when you are on the pitch it's two teams of 11 playing against each other. There is a bit more strength on the pitch but at the end of the day they're still humans aren't they? There is no difference between any of us.
“It's good experience playing up here and playing with the lads for the first time and getting to know them.”
Rudd is the sort of players tours are designed for: young and inexperienced, he should start the season just that little bit more confident and able to pick up the mantle when called upon. The aim is to develop his young talent and aid his progression from youth team to first team.
“Playing with Doc (Gary Doherty), Semmy (Jon Otsemobor) and Ads (Adam Drury) and all the big players it's nice to get to know them and get to know each other and how we play,” he said.
“Pre-season is great for that. Everyone gets a chance, everyone plays together and everyone gets to know what's going on with each other.”
If there have been any butterflies playing just behind someone like skipper Gary Doherty, Rudd has hidden them.
“Once you get into the game you get into game mode and you don't really think who the people are, you just think of them as your team-mates and at the end of the day I have to do my job and he has to do his job and we can help each other by telling each other things that will make us better,” Rudd said.
“Doc doesn't mind if I say something to him and I don't mind if he says something to me - we all give our opinions to each other, everything is taken on board.”
The opinion that counts is Gunn's and Rudd is eager to ensure his place in the pecking order.
“I'm just going to keep playing well, doing my job and obviously with the gaffer watching if I play well I am just going to keep my name in his head, hopefully,” said Rudd.
“I will just keep doing my job until then and see what happens.”
The clean sheet was helped by some flying saves in the first half as well as a reaction stop from a header in the second.
“It's nice to get a good quick start into the game with a few things to do,” he said. “Obviously with the save which went across me and I tipped round the post it's nice to get that early on because then you feel you're into the game and that you've made a big contribution.
“It's nice to get that going, but if it hadn't happened I would just have had to stay concentrated and keep going and waiting for when I was needed.”