Ruddy good show does trick for Norwich City
Michael Bailey Come the final whistle on Saturday Carrow Road was reverberating to the sound of fans belting out the name of penalty hero John Ruddy, but the Norwich City 'keeper today admitted he won't let such adulation go to his head.
Come the final whistle on Saturday Carrow Road was reverberating to the sound of fans belting out the name of penalty hero John Ruddy, but the Norwich City 'keeper today admitted he won't let such adulation go to his head.
While the 23-year-old, who joined from Everton in the summer, could do little to avoid bringing down lively Swansea winger Scott Sinclair as he threatened to open the scoring late on in a high quality game, Ruddy produced a stunning save from the resulting 84th minute spot-kick.
David Cotterill's well-struck effort was denied and, 10 minutes later, Ashley Williams' calamitous own goal and Simeon Jackon's splendid volley - his first goal in City colours since his own summer move - had opened Norwich's home league points account for the season with a stirring 2-0 win. Carrow Road echoed to Ruddy's name by the end - something not lost on City's new number one.
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“It was very nice, very nice - but if I make a cock-up in the next game I'm sure they won't be singing it,” smiled Ruddy. “It's swings and roundabouts and that's the thing being a keeper. You are either the hero or the villain. Thankfully today I was the hero and hopefully we can push on and keep the performances coming like that.
“I was very happy with the save. To be fair, I shouldn't have given away the penalty in the first place. My starting position wasn't the best and I was a bit slow coming to meet him.
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“But thankfully I redeemed myself and we were able to go on and get the two goals, which is a fantastic result against a very good footballing side who I'm sure will be there or thereabouts again this year.”
Whether the Norwich 'keeper should have been on the pitch to save Cotterill's spot-kick is a moot point, with the Swansea dressing room adamant a red card should have followed referee Phil Crossley's original decision - but Ruddy disagrees.
He said: “It was a penalty; unless I let him kick it and see where he's going with it and give him an open goal, I don't think there is much I could do. Anyone else on their team I would probably get it, but he's a very quick player, fleet-footed, and touched it before me.
“In that situation the referee has got no option I think. But he made the right decision in the end with the yellow card.
“The ball is going out for a goal-kick, he's not going to get on the end and score. If he was, then it would have been a different story, but I think the ref made the right call.
“He took his time with the decision, which is all credit to him. Referees have been criticised for being rash in their decision-making, but he took his time and he evaluated the situation and came out with the yellow card.”
Following in the gloves of League One winner Fraser Forster was going to be tough for anyone, but Ruddy is glad he is starting to show some of his potential after an indifferent start.
Ruddy said: “From the Everton game and the Watford game I was very disappointed with my performances. It's important to come in and show the fans what you can do and unfortunately for me I didn't have the best of starts.
“But we got a great result against Gillingham here, which I think gave everyone a lift, and then a fantastic clean sheet and win up at Scunthorpe last week, which again was a tough, tough game.
“And come today and beat a team like Swansea, who are very good, is no mean feat and it'll be hard to beat this year.
“Myself and the Swansea keeper probably had about four saves to make - and fairly routine saves. It was just one of those games. They were very content to keep the ball, we were content to keep a solid shape and then hit them on the counter.
“But things happen and it's a strange game. Something like the penalty turns it and we score two goals in the last 10 minutes. It's weird.”
With Michael Nelson, the impressive Elliott Ward, Adam Drury and Russell Martin looking a solid back line in front of him, Ruddy was glad to take a second successive clean sheet of the season.
“It's a team game; Wardy got man of the match today and rightly so, because I thought he was absolutely fantastic, and Nels was the same - the two centre-halves were very solid and it's two clean sheets in a row,” said the City number one.
“As a back five, we take a lot of pride in that. Ads and Russ are great athletes too, so we're building a solid unit and hopefully we continue it.”
The Canaries enjoy a change of tack with the Carling Cup second round trip to Premier League Blackburn Rovers - a challenge Ruddy is already looking forward to.
“It will be nice, and nice to come away with a win - that's what we aim for,” he said. “But going away to a Premier League side and pitting our wits against them, it will be an interesting game and we look forward to it very much.”