Norwich City’s John Ruddy: 35 games is nothing in the Premier League
John Ruddy insists he does not yet regard himself as an established Premier League goalkeeper – despite his key role in earning Norwich City another season in the top flight.
The 25-year-old has missed only one of the Canaries' 36 league games, when he was suspended for the visit of West Bromwich Albion in September.
His performances have led to calls for England recognition, with City manager Paul Lambert stating more than once that the national team management 'could do a lot worse' than look at the former Everton man.
But, asked if he felt he could now be classed as a Premier League 'keeper, Ruddy argued: 'No, not yet. I think next season if we're still in the league you can start to come round to the idea of being a Premier League player but 35 games is nothing in the Premier League.'
Similarly, Ruddy does not consider surviving for one season means Norwich can take their status for granted.
'If you do it for the next two, three, four seasons then definitely we're an established Premier League club,' he said.
'After one season, a very good season at that, it's very satisfying to be able to stay in the league but you've got to repeat that for the next couple of years.'
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City's home defeats at the hands of Manchester City and Liverpool have underlined the unforgiving nature of top-flight football for any team not at its absolute best.
'You have to make sure you're on the ball every single week. It doesn't matter who you're playing, if you're not on top of your game you're going to get hammered. It's as simple as that,' said Ruddy.
'The bigger clubs coming to town and going to their stadiums is what you're in the Premier League for, but at the same time three points is three points, no matter who you're playing.'
Reference is often made to a 'goalkeepers' union' but Ruddy, who rates Joe Hart the pick of the Premier League 'keepers, admits there is little time for fraternisation with the opposition.
'I think you concentrate on your own duties,' he said. 'You say hello and there's a mutual respect being in the same business, in the same position.
'You might have a little chat after the game if time allows but unless you know the person that well there's not much interaction.
'I've got a lot of shirts this season from other goalkeepers that I've swapped with, which is a great thing to be able to do, swapping with some of the best 'keepers in the world. But at the end of the day we're all there to do the same job and that's keep the ball out of the net.'