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Norwich City keeper Declan Rudd is ready to deliver for England’s U21s

PUBLISHED: 17:17 11 October 2012 | UPDATED: 17:54 11 October 2012

Norwich's England U21 keeper Declan Rudd practises his ball juggling skills at Thursday's final training session ahead of the play-off, first leg tie against Serbia. Picture: Simon Finlay

Norwich's England U21 keeper Declan Rudd practises his ball juggling skills at Thursday's final training session ahead of the play-off, first leg tie against Serbia. Picture: Simon Finlay

Archant Norfolk

Norwich City keeper Declan Rudd admits he is loving every minute of being involved in England U21s’ bid to reach Euro2013.

The Canaries’ youngster is part of Stuart Pearce’s squad bidding to overcome their Serbian counterparts in a two-legged showdown that begins on home soil for the Diss-bred keeper in Friday’s Carrow Road opener.

Rudd has been restricted to one senior Norwich appearance this season in the Capital One Cup win over Scunthorpe, but the 21-year-old is ready to do his duty in front of the Norfolk public.

“It’s great. You are coming away to work and play with the best players in the country at this age group, some of the best coaches and the training is sharp,” he said. “You learn a lot from the other players and their experiences. It is a great chance to be involved. You just have to enjoy every second. Obviously it will be a good crowd supporting us and getting behind us like they always do behind the team on a Saturday afternoon. I’m expecting the same for the England lads. All the lads are looking forward to the atmosphere. For me it would be a great honour to play. We don’t know the team yet, we don’t know who is in or out. It would be a great occasion for me if I could. Let’s wait and see.”

Rudd, speaking to the club’s official site on Thursday afternoon, insists England’s young charges will be fully prepared for the stiff challenge posed by the Serbs.

“If we play to our full potential we don’t need to really worry about them because we have the quality in our team to deal with it,” he said. “As long as we stick to our game plan and play to our capabilities then we have a very good chance. We have a great group of players here with a good team ethic. The lads are positive and hopeful of a good result. If we win this two-legged play-off then we get ourselves into the European Championships in the summer. There is a lot of stake but that just fires the lads up even more. I think as long as we stick to what the gaffer tells us to do and we play to our full potential we have a great chance.

“To play in the European Championships – it doesn’t get much bigger than that at our age group level – so it would be a great occasion and a possibility to be involved at a major tournament. All the lads will do their best to be there.”

• Norwich City’s teenager winger Josh Murphy has been drafted into the England U18s’ squad for a forthcoming friendly against Italy’s U18s at Mansfield Town’s One Call Stadium.

The 17-year-old will join up with Noel Blake’s squad for the first time when they face the young Azzuri on October 24 after featuring regularly in Scott Marshall’s Norwich development squad.

Murphy’s early season form also earned him a place on the bench for the recent Capital One Cup win over Doncaster and Marshall believes international exposure is a huge positive.

“It will really help Josh’s development to be involved, even the experience of going away and being with the squad will be wonderful for him,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to mix with a bunch of really talented lads and I hope he can make the most of it.

“We’re really pleased for him and it’s great for all our guys to see him getting that recognition. We obviously want more of our guys to be involved, and seeing Josh in there will no doubt give them confidence to push on.”

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