Kevin Keegan tips Norwich City’s John Ruddy to push for England Euros squad
Former England manager Kevin Keegan believes Norwich City keeper John Ruddy can make a late push to be part of his country's European Championship plans in Poland and the Ukraine this summer.
Keegan watched his old club Liverpool cruise to a 3-0 Premier League win against the Canaries at Carrow Road, but 'Special K' – who guided the Three Lions to the 2000 tournament – insists Ruddy deserves to be mentioned as a potential back-up to Joe Hart.
Ruddy's consistent form has been a key factor in City's successful survival bid, and marked him out as one of the front-runners to be crowned Norwich's player-of-the-season.
Keegan said: 'Stranger things have happened. If you say, 'Can you see him playing for England?' well my answer would be with the season we are having at the moment then anything is possible. Yes, he may make that trip. It's like the striking situation right now and it is the very same thing happening behind Joe Hart. That is an opportunity for him.
'He replaced (Fraser) Forster on loan from Newcastle and they probably tried to get him back in again so in that respect maybe he was their second choice, but I think it is incredible what he has done.
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'He had to go out on loan to about ten clubs after David Moyes brought him to Everton. He knows it is now his chance to perform. He has been a major figure in their promotion and now he has been an ever-present in the Premier League. You need a top goalkeeper and he has been an absolute bargain.'
Keegan absolved Ruddy from any blame over Luis Suarez's eye-catching third strike at Carrow Road which saw the Uruguayan audaciously chip City's keeper from long range.
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The former double European footballer-of-the-year, however, warns Norwich must tighten up after leaking goals in recent Premier League games.
He said: 'I think maybe Ruddy felt he was going to hit the post but only a world class player could do that. He knows where the goal is, he knows where he is going to hit it but to strike that knowing it probably cannot bounce again until it is over the line was a wonderful piece of skill. Even Kenny (Dalglish) would have been proud of that.
'I think Liverpool would have expected to come up against a Norwich side who would give them more problems on their own ground, but right from the first few minutes they never could. They pressed everywhere. Norwich have been outstanding, but they can't afford to keep on shipping goals. What you would be saying is keep hold of that 'rope' as we used to say. If the full-back is ten yards away from the centre back, keep the distance ten yards away. You have to narrow the gap otherwise players of the calibre of Luis Suarez will drive through those areas. There was some poor, poor Norwich play.'