John Ruddy is hoping to be fit and available for a return to Norwich City action come the start of April.

Colney darts exit won’t dampen John Ruddy’s early Norwich City action return

Monday, January 14, 2013
12.34 PM

John Ruddy is eyeing an early return to full training in the spring – and with it, easing his early exit from Norwich City’s Colney Darts Championship.

John Ruddy leaves the field of play at Goodison Park in November with the torn thigh muscle that has kept him out since. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus ImagesJohn Ruddy leaves the field of play at Goodison Park in November with the torn thigh muscle that has kept him out since. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images

The England goalkeeper tore a thigh muscle at Everton in November, undergoing surgery before pencilling in an April training return.

But the 26-year-old now hopes the start of April will signal a return to competitive action instead, which would be welcome news given the stopper’s impressive form before his injury.

“The injury came from a goal-kick – it was my 37th kick of the game and it just went; I had an operation but it is healing well,” said Ruddy.

“I was on crutches for five weeks, two less than I was initially told. But I am a heavy load to be carrying on crutches. Going down stairs was annoying. After the operation I had three and a half weeks at home doing nothing. It wasn’t as bad as I thought but, after a while, it was tedious.

“I managed to stay away from TV programmes like Jeremy Kyle but after a while I couldn’t even be bothered to play on the computer.

“On the football side, we had pencilled in April 1 to start full training, but now we are looking good to return to training before the international break in March. So, hopefully, I could be returning to action at the start of April.”

But in recent weeks it’s not all been about the football at the Canaries’ training ground: “Our fitness coach Mike Watt asked whether anyone fancied a darts competition,” added Ruddy.

“We had a dartboard but now we have got two because it has got that competitive with two games going on at the same time. All the lads are enjoying it and it shows the squad has a really good spirit.

“I won my first round (against Andrew Surman) but I’m gutted as I then lost 3-0 to Foxy, who I’m sure will be the eventual winner. He has Wes Hoolahan in the quarters; that will be tough.

“Holty got knocked out by Ryan Bennett in the first round. He was angry because he watched the Leon Barnett-Javier Garrido match and that went to closest to the bull because neither could hit double one.

“Holty was not too happy with the standard of that match and the draw process – but that was only because he was out.”

A broken finger kept Ruddy out of England’s Euro 2012 squad last summer – but despite currently being sidelined, the City stopper aims to make up for it 12 months on as Roy Hodgson’s squad face an end-of-season friendly at home to Ireland and a match against Brazil to mark the reopening of their famous Maracana Stadium in Rio.

“In the summer there is the trip to Brazil and hopefully I can play a few games before the end of the season and get into the squad — that would be unbelievable,” Ruddy told The Sun.

“Before the injury, I’d been pleased with my performances so hopefully I can return to form quickly.”