Declan Rudd has a clean slate at Norwich City and is ready to take his chance after John Ruddy exit
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Now that the dust has settled on John Ruddy's exit from Carrow Road, attention will inevitably turn to the future of Declan Rudd.
The locally-born keeper is the natural successor to Ruddy, having spent much of the past seven years in his shadow – either here or on loan.
Rudd will have learned the ropes from his senior partner but now, at the age of 26, it is time for him to step up to the plate. And he knows it.
Born in Diss, Rudd is a former season ticket holder at Carrow Road – as a lad he occupied a seat in the upper tier of the River End. He is a true Norwich City fan.
Having been spotted by that man with the golden touch, Colin Watts, playing outfield in a local tournament, he was snapped up and transformed into a number one.
Rudd has been at City for a staggering 16 years – but since he turned pro in 2008, he has never really been able to call the number one shirt his own.
As well as a rivalry with fellow youth product Jed Steer, Rudd’s debut season saw him behind Fraser Forster – then along came Ruddy and the shirt was his. Mark Bunn had it for a while and with other senior understudies preferred, Rudd went on loan.
Rudd had the jersey for a two-month spell over the winter of 2015-16, but trouble loomed when Alex Neil signed Michael McGovern last summer – and Rudd was told he wasn’t wanted, so he joined Charlton on a season-long loan. At the Valley he had to cope with fan unrest which, as he said in the Legends Lounge at Carrow Road before the QPR game on Sunday, was “different”. The McGovern experience was more like devastating.
But there is a determination about Rudd to succeed at Norwich where, for once, he may actually now be top of the goalkeeping tree. New sporting director Stuart Webber wants to give youth a chance; Rudd isn’t exactly youth, but with only 17 league starts for City, he is like a new signing. And he loves the club.
As is the way of these things, Rudd was subject to a Q&A during his pre-match appearance and was asked whether he was signed up because he was cheaper than Ruddy. Yes, he responded quickly, with a big smile on his face.
He will be determined to ensure it was about much more than just money.