Norwich City stopper Ruddy targets Premier League landmark

Norwich City keeper John Ruddy admits a Premier League clean sheet would top off City's impressive return to the big time.

Canaries' boss Paul Lambert led the growing calls for Ruddy to earn England international recognition after a superb display last weekend at Liverpool capped by a stunning stoppage time parry to foil Luis Suarez.

Craig Bellamy fired past Ruddy at Anfield in the first period to deny the 25-year-old a league shut out at the eighth attempt, but Ruddy has been delighted with City's defensive resolve.

Russell Martin and Leon Barnett again excelled in a central defensive pairing at Anfield that has underpinned Norwich's recent run.

'As long as we're winning it doesn't really affect me too much, but it would be really nice to finally get one,' he said. 'I think we've deserved one from our defensive displays.


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'We've been very solid and it's just that one thing that's missing at the moment but we go into every game believing we can get a result and if we get a clean sheet as well, it's a bonus.

'I think they've been fantastic, I really do. Russ is the model professional. He wasn't starting the season and he was a bit disappointed but he's worked very hard in training to get himself into a position where he can play. It's not his normal position but he's come in and looked natural there.

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'And Barney, he's an absolute athlete and he'll give you 110 per cent, along with the rest of the lads, every game. It's a solid base to build on.

'We've had some injuries in that position as well, so to be able to put the likes of Russ in there and be confident enough that he's going to do the job he's done is testament to himself as a player.'

Ruddy believes City's squad has proved quick learners after early league games were blighted by a bizarre run of conceding five consecutive penalties.

'It was a bit of a rush at the start of the season but hopefully no more. I think we've had our fair share this season,' he said. 'One or two games you think maybe but five in a row is just unheard of, so that's a record that won't be getting broken any time so.

'I think that was a learning curve in itself, not to try to anticipate or sit on your heels. You've always got to be on the front foot, you've always got to be expecting the unexpected at this level. It's just one of those things that will never, ever happen again. It's weird.

'I think we've more than shown people what we're capable of. We've gone into every game full of confidence. We know there's no pressure on us. People don't expect a lot from teams that get promoted but that's a great thing for us. We're new to this league, we've got new players, people don't know much about us so we're just taking it all in our stride and at the minute we're buzzing.'

Ruddy's top flight experience had been restricted to an 80 minute run out for Everton back in 2006, and the Norwich number one concedes the leap from the Football League is huge.

'It is pretty big,' he said. 'You know you're not going to get as much possession of the ball as we did last season. You know you're going to have periods of play where you're just going to have to defend. We've got to be ready for that, but we know when we get chances we look a threat and we've got goals in this team.

'It's a great encouragement for us, the chances we've created and the way we've gone about our business throughout the whole pitch. We've been very good and adapted really well. I think I've adapted well, as the whole squad has. It's a massive step up but we're just enjoying it. This is where we've worked very hard to get out of a very tough league last year to get to this level and we don't want to throw it away, just lie down and take beatings every week.'

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