John Ruddy’s England debut last month capped a remarkable rise to the top that took him to eleven different clubs all before his 24th birthday.
His five year stint at Everton saw him unable to shift the immoveable force of Tim Howard and the likeable big man from St Ives was farmed out to such honourable mileposts as Stockport, Crewe and Motherwell where he honed his trade in typically no-nonsense fashion. There were no dramatic strops or transfer requests; Ruddy knew he had time on his side and an education to gain.
In 2010 Paul Lambert brought him to Carrow Road where he immediately established himself as an integral figure of Norwich’s promotion campaign and since helping the Canaries back to the top perch his own trajectory has been similarly sharp. Last season was unequivocally a blinder as Ruddy produced a series of outstanding and accomplished displays that marked him down as a top flight keeper of note. Finally it seems Joe Hart has a rival for the England number one spot and the only disappointment on the career curve so far was an injury that deprived Ruddy of a Euro squad place.
The friendly against Italy in August in some way compensated for that and considering the convoluted journey it took to reach Wembley and acclaim rarely has an England call-up been more richly deserved.
We caught up with John at the FIFA13 launch in Manchester on Monday where the keeper talked to the Cutter about the game and looked ahead to the visit of Liverpool this Saturday.
DC: Is there anything you can do in real life that your FIFA avatar cannot?
JR: Yeah….well actually no. It’s amazing to see what they can do, it’s like a real match. It’s a really good game and I’ve enjoyed the short time I’ve had playing on it.
DC: Have you enjoyed tonight?
JR: Yeah it’s been brilliant. Everyone has had a good time and there’s a nice friendly atmosphere about the place.
DC: Have you come down from Norwich today?
JR: We flew up this afternoon so it’s a long way to come for a short time but it’s been enjoyable nonetheless.
DC: Fancy your chances against Liverpool at the weekend?
JR: It’s going to be an interesting game. I think the two teams are playing well without picking up the results they probably deserve. It’s going to be a tight game but hopefully we can pick up something from it.