Audio: Norwich City goalkeeper John Ruddy ready for England Euro 2012 call
John Ruddy has admitted to feeling he is only in contention 'by default' ahead of today's England squad announcement for this summer's European Championships.
The Norwich City goalkeeper was yesterday backed into odds on with one leading bookmaker to gatecrash Roy Hodgson's 23-man squad for the finals in Poland and the Ukraine to cap a superb Premier League season.
While England coach Ray Clemence was at Carrow Road last weekend to watch Ruddy underline his international credentials with two fine stops in the 2-0 home win over Aston Villa. The 25-year-old finished runner-up to Grant Holt in the Canaries' player-of-the-season voting, but was crowned players' player-of-the-season at the club's dinner on Monday night. Ruddy is due to marry his fianc�e Laura on the same day of England's final warm-up friendly with Belgium at Wembley, but the Norwich keeper revealed he is prepared for all eventualities.
'I've got wedding insurance so I'm covered in that aspect,' smiled Ruddy. 'If someone would have told me at the start of the season I would either be in contention to go to the Euros or get married, I would think it would be a pretty good year.
'If it happens it happens, and I'd be absolutely over the moon. But I've got a wedding to concentrate on and I am really looking forward to that.
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'The lads told me after the game (of Clemence's presence). It's all right him being here – if he does anything about it then great, but if not then it's just another game he's come to watch.
'It's nice the attention that's coming my way for England but all I can do is concentrate on playing like I did (against Aston Villa). If not then I will make sure I come back bigger and stronger next year and look forward to doing the same as I did this year.'
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Ruddy believes there are still plenty of good options for back-up to England number one Joe Hart this summer – as well as one more good option a little higher up the pitch.
'It's by default, that's why so much has been made of it – English goalkeepers are pretty thin on the ground at the moment but I think we've got some fantastic options, even with the people who haven't made themselves available,' said Ruddy.
'Obviously Joe Hart has got it for as long as he wants it, because he's been in exceptional form for the last few years and he's just won the league.
'The same goes for Holty. He's the second highest English goalscorer, so if you are doing it on merit and who's next in line, then he should be there as well.
'I think it would be the icing on the cake if just one of us was named – two of us are in with a good shout. I'd be absolutely delighted if I went and even happier if Holty went because of how hard he has worked and where he has come from. He thoroughly deserves to go. It's the same with Wes Hoolahan. How he hasn't been picked in the Ireland squad is an absolute joke. You name me another influential Irish player playing the way he is in the Premier League? For him to not even be on stand-by for Ireland is ridiculous.'
Ruddy's own England case is strong – but the City stopper was happy to reiterate exactly why his club captain should enjoy his own extended season.
'When you hear his voice in the changing room, usually moaning, he's a reassuring character to have around the place,' said Ruddy. 'I can't see why he doesn't deserve to go (to the Euros) and in all fairness, people doubted him and he has scored the goals when people didn't fancy him and if he doesn't go then in all honesty something needs to be looked at there.
'He's taken another massive step up this year and looks like he's been playing at this level for the last three or four years. He is a handful. He gets himself in the way, makes a nuisance of himself and he will harass and bully people, and that's probably what England have been lacking since Shearer and Sheringham in all honesty – someone who can really get into the opposition's defence and play alongside someone like Rooney who can then pick off him and take the chances.
'Sometimes this season he has shown a great finesse in his finishing and I think he's scored every type of goal you could think of. Go back to the one against Manchester United here, when he swivelled on it with his left foot and put it in the top corner.
'I'd pick out the one at Everton where he was in a tight space and managed to work himself half a yard and finish it in the bottom corner.'