Norwich City fan Declan Rudd owes John Ruddy a Premier League debt
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City keeper Declan Rudd admits John Ruddy has eased his path to the Premier League.
Rudd has made seven consecutive top flight appearances for his hometown club since replacing Ruddy and the Diss-bred stopper, who turns 25 on Saturday, is poised to retain his place for the trip to Bournemouth.
'John has been a massive help to me. Every day in training he gives me confidence, before games he is telling me pointers and just using his experience,' said Rudd, who joined City's academy as an eight-year-old. 'That is really big for me because I am going into games and he is telling me to watch out for certain situations that could happen and tapping into his knowledge is helping me for sure.
'You all know the situation. It is not like a left-back who maybe can play centre back or a midfielder who can drop deeper. There is only keeper on the pitch and he can't play anywhere else. I know I have a top English goalkeeper behind me wanting his place back so that means every game that comes I need to make sure I am at my best. I know that John is waiting and working hard to get back in the team so my performances have to be good to stay there. I always wanted to do this and you have to believe you are good enough.'
Rudd had to bide his time after a successful loan spell at Preston in 2013/14.
'It crossed my mind that I might have to go out again, but then I always had the opportunity to be at my hometown club, which makes you want to stay for longer to see if you do get a chance,' he said. 'It was getting to the point where I wanted to play games, because I enjoyed playing week in, week out at Preston, but we got back into the Premier League and I wanted to be part of a Norwich City team at this level. It wasn't a tough decision for me to say to Deano (Dean Kiely) or the gaffer that I want to be here.'
The lifelong Canaries' fan feels the pleasure and pain more than most in Alex Neil's squad, but the 25-year-old will not let sentiment get in the way.
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'Of course it means a bit more,' he said. 'Obviously all my family are Norwich fans. You get all the calls and texts after the games, maybe different texts when we lose, and my granddad is not too happy when we lose. The supporters have been great for me since I came in. I was a Norwich fan growing up and I know when I was watching it was good to see the local lads come through, but when you step over that line it is a job and you have to forget all about that.
'To be in the academy since I was eight and to finally be in the first team is important to me. When I joined the club Andy Marshall was the keeper but the first one I trained with was Robert Green and seeing his work-rate was unbelievable. I was with him two days a week after school and that helped me a lot. It gave me an insight into what you need to do to play at the top.'