Saviour Ruddy relishing battle for places
David Cuffley John Ruddy expects Norwich City's younger goalkeepers to keep him on his toes during the Championship season - indeed, he says they already are. Ruddy, the Canaries' close season capture from Everton, saved a penalty to help his new club secure a 0-0 draw in their friendly at Stevenage last night.
John Ruddy expects Norwich City's younger goalkeepers to keep him on his toes during the Championship season - indeed, he says they already are.
Ruddy, the Canaries' close season capture from Everton, saved a penalty to help his new club secure a 0-0 draw in their friendly at Stevenage last night.
But he admitted the performance of 17-year-old Jed Steer had stolen his thunder with outstanding saves from Mark Roberts and David Bridges when he played the final 30 minutes at Broadhall Way.
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With City's Declan Rudd on duty for England in the European Under-19 Championships in France, and set to face Holland tonight, Ruddy knows he cannot expect an easy ride in the No 1 jersey.
“Jed upstaged me a little bit I think but he's a fantastic young goalkeeper. I've been here only a couple of weeks but already I can see how much he's going to be a top keeper,” said Ruddy.
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“When he came on, that little half an hour was great for him. He'll get more game time in the next games coming up, so that's going to put him in a great mindset to be involved in the first team.
“Dec's the same. I think they're 17 and 19 and they've got great futures ahead of them. If they keep themselves on the right path and keep doing the right things, they're going to be fantastic goalkeepers so it's up to me to try to help them if I can but more so to concentrate on my own game so I don't get caught.
“You see tonight, Jed came on and pulled off a couple of great saves, so I've got to keep on top of my game week in, week out - it's only good for the club.”
Ruddy has yet to concede a goal in three pre-season appearances, a fact that has pleased manager Paul Lambert, and keeping out Scott Laird's 54th-minute spot-kick was the highlight of last night's display as he dived to his right to make a fine save.
“I had an idea where he was going to go because of his body shape but I went a little bit early, so if he had gone the other way I'd have looked a bit stupid,” said Ruddy. “But it's just one of those things - it pays off to go early. I was pleased to make the save.
“It's a good start but I don't think you can take too much from pre-season games.
“It's more about getting up to the level you want to be at, and at the minute we're doing well.
“I know the quality of players in front of me and it helps. You can get to know them in just a few training sessions, as I have done. I was quite lucky, I had a full week working with them before the first game at Dereham and in Germany we had a full week as well. It was good to get to know the lads and I feel very comfortable with them in front of me and I hope they feel the same about me behind them.”
Ruddy played two thirds of the game against SV Bergisch Gladbach and was given another hour last night.
He said: “It's just about building yourself up and getting back into the swing of things. The games are coming thick and fast now. We've got four left before it starts for real and it's great preparation. You don't really take too much from the results in pre-season although we're a group of winners, we want to win, and the manager's a winner, but it's more about the performance in these games and building up to Watford on August 6.”
City's final pre-season match is at home to Everton on Saturday week - a neat coincidence for Ruddy.
“It was a bit strange seeing that in the fixture list,” he said. “But it will be good to see them all again. I'll get to say a proper goodbye to the other players. It will be nice and I hope we get a result in that one especially.”
Lambert praised Ruddy and Steer after last night's goalless encounter.
He said: “The two of them were great. John made a great save with the penalty. Young Jed has come in and done great and Dec, being away with England, is doing well there. The pleasing thing about John is that in the three games he's played, he's not let a goal in. And he looks a terrific goalkeeper. There is no doubt, he's only 23 years old and I'm delighted I've got him. Fraser Forster, as I said, was absolutely terrific but certain things dictated it wasn't going to happen. I'm delighted John's here, delighted the way he's been playing the last three games and he'll be a big goalkeeper for us next season, that's for sure.”