Norwich City and England goalkeeping coach Dave Watson talks John Ruddy and his own curtailed playing career
Norwich City goalkeeping coach Dave Watson is loving his shot at coaching with England and hopes it will continue.
The former Barnsley number one, who had to give up on his own career at the age of 24 after injury, was called up by new England manager Roy Hodgson in time for the summer's European Championships – and before Watson made his switch from Birmingham City to Carrow Road with the rest of Chris Hughton's backroom staff.
Watson has since been confirmed in his role for the qualifying campaign leading to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, alongside his duties at Colney.
'Birmingham lost in the play-off semi-finals to Blackpool in May and I thought my season had finished, only to get a call from Roy the day after saying he'd love me to come on board for Euro 2012,' Watson told The Sun.
'The call was a surreal moment. You work all your life to be the best player you can be but that was curtailed for me due to an injury.
'I wanted to be the best coach I could be and the ultimate position is to be England's keeping coach. I didn't think I'd be on the radar but knew I was capable.
'I had done well with my club career but I didn't think this was a chance which would come my way. It was fantastic and the players and staff were all unbelievable during Euro 2012.
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'They were so welcoming and it was devastating to lose on penalties when we were so close.
'I was asked to do the tournament and see where it would take me but that has changed and Roy wants me to carry on, which is fantastic.
'To be part of something — pushing towards Brazil 2014 is special. Hopefully, I can keep coaching our keepers and be successful.'
Watson is more than familiar with England's current goalkeeper line-up – having coached Joe Hart during his season on loan at Birmingham and working with Jack Butland since he was 15.
Now he is adding Canaries stopper John Ruddy to the list.
'I'm starting out with John now at Norwich,' added Watson. 'He has shown over the last two or three years that he's consistent but it's up to me to push him on.
'John made two important saves on his debut against Italy. He is playing regular football in the Premier League for us and this is vital for him.'
By coincidence, it was in a match against Norwich in 1998 that Watson's playing career came to an end, with retirement eventually coming three years later.
'I thought I had damaged my cartilage on my right knee during the game against Norwich – by the time I had surgery I realised I had a severe problem and unfortunately for me I never got back from that,' added Watson.
'My keeper coach at that time, who has become my closest friend in the game, is Eric Steele, now coaching at Manchester United.
'Eric thought I had a lot to offer so advised me to go down the coaching route. When he moved on to Villa and Derby I did some sessions with him and got qualified.
'All you need is a chance. Eric got me an interview at Northampton and I've never looked back. I did all my coaching badges and had opportunities to coach some of the youngsters in the English teams.
'Last summer I went to Switzerland and did the Under-19s. Then this big chance. Hopefully, the build up to Brazil will be good.'