John Ruddy responds to Alex Neil's tough love at Norwich City
Tough love got Norwich City number one John Ruddy back on track for the Canaries' Premier League survival surge.
Ruddy has kept two clean sheets in the last three games and made a stunning save to deny Papiss Cisse in City’s dramatic 3-2 win over Newcastle United at the weekend.
The 29-year-old was dropped for 11 Premier League games after a dip in form, but Alex Neil insists it is a measure of the man how Ruddy has responded.
“Big John, since he came back into the team, I know he won’t probably agree with me, but leaving him out was the best thing I could have done because since then he has been great,” he said. “Games like Newcastle are decided on really fine margins. I have been saying it all season there are a lot of games we could or should have won but we have maybe not because of a poor decision or a bit of quality from the opposition and that was a great save at the end.
“My responsibility is to be brave enough to make a decision, if I don’t think John is performing as well as he should be, to drop him out and regardless of who the player is in my squad. I have a duty to the rest of the lads and the club to give someone else a chance.”
Declan Rudd came in for City’s festive upturn in the top flight before Ruddy was restored to the starting line up in the league after a thee-month exile.
“I am sure at the time John would not have looked at it that way but now looking at where he is he will be pretty happy with his game and what he is doing and I am happy,” said Neil.
“The simple fact is if he doesn’t respond in that manner he isn’t the player you would hope he is because the true test for me of a player is how they respond to a disappointment or a setback or a blow. John’s response has been first class, as I would expect.”