Audio: John Ruddy’s timely return helps to steer Norwich City over the line
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
John Ruddy had to be patient for his Premier League exile to come to an end after injury – and the wait to feel involved did not really stop at kick-off on Sunday.
The City stopper was handed his first team return after tearing a thigh muscle at Everton in November, but given the nature of the Canaries' – and West Brom's – performance on Sunday, Ruddy had to bide his time just a little bit longer.
'I was looking up at the clock thinking, 'Oh, I still haven't touched the ball – how long's it going to be?'. Then about 20 minutes in I had a kick and it was good to get the first one out of the way, as well as coming through it all not feeling anything from the injury,' said Ruddy.
Mark Bunn had done few things wrong since stepping in at Goodison Park almost six months ago – but few City fans would deny it was a relief to see their number one back where he belongs. And while the clean sheet on his return owed more to other factors than Ruddy's return, it was still a nice way to sign back into action after 90 minutes of exemplary handling.
'As you can probably tell by my voice, it's taken its toll on the vocal chords being back,' joked Ruddy. 'But it was really nice to be back in and to be in a game of that manner, when we came out and showed what we were about. It's fantastic.
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'You've always got to be careful with a team like West Brom. Their front three is very good, very effective, but the lads at the back dealt with them very well. I thought they were absolutely superb, all four in front of me and the two in front of them as well in Jonno (Bradley Johnson) and Hows (Jonny Howson).
'I thought Hows deserved his goal today – he was outstanding – and Jonno has been my player of the season. So kudos to them, they were absolutely superb.'
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Ruddy added: 'We started so well and got the goal, and I just think we needed one more just to kill them off almost in the first half.
'It didn't come, but we came out in the second half and were patient and disciplined again. We got four fantastic goals today and we could've had more as well. We had some fantastic chances.
'And that's what we are about. That's how we play and there was an element of freedom about our play that probably hasn't been seen in the last few weeks. It could be down to nerves or tension, but we dealt with it all today and put in a great shift.
'Last week it was almost panic buttons being pressed, but the manager has taken the decision to do things he thought were right for the squad and thankfully today we've reaped the rewards.'