Plenty of room for manoeuvre to refresh goalkeeper options at Norwich City this summer
PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 April 2017 | UPDATED: 19:40 28 April 2017
As speculation over Norwich City’s summer revamp continues, David Freezer takes a look at the overcrowded goalkeeper department, as the first keeper exit moves into view.
One of several areas of the Norwich City squad which requires attention this summer is the goalkeeper department – where the Canaries currently have six senior options.
John Ruddy and Michael McGovern have been the front-line keepers this season, with former Portsmouth shot-stopper Paul Jones providing experienced cover.
Jones is a player that City fans have seen little of since he was signed on a free transfer last summer, playing just once for the first team, being unable to prevent a penalty going in during the 6-1 thrashing of Coventry in the EFL Cup second round at Carrow Road in August.
The 30-year-old is set to feature as cover on the bench for the 10th time this season during tomorrow’s Championship match at Leeds United, due to McGovern suffering a family bereavement.
The Northern Ireland international’s mother, Carmel, passed away earlier this week and City have granted the 32-year-old compassionate leave to attend a funeral service in Enniskillen on Saturday.
Jones has been a positive influence on City’s under-23 squad this season and put in a solid performance in front of sporting director Stuart Webber during Monday’s 0-0 draw with Brighton at Carrow Road.
The former Exeter and Crawley keeper kept his fifth clean sheet in seven appearances for the Canaries’ development side and made a crucial one-on-one save midway through the first half to deny the Seagulls in the Premier League Two clash.
He will turn 31 this summer but still has a year left on his contract and would appear to be a more than able deputy should Ruddy or McGovern move on this summer.
Ruudy’s deal expires this summer but City retain a one-year option which can be activated if required, potentially even to just guarantee a transfer fee if the one-cap England international’s seventh season with the club proves to be his last.
The 31-year-old is thought to be one of the highest earners in the squad, having signed terms back in 2013 when Norwich looked to be establishing themselves as a Premier League team, and has made 27 appearances during the current campaign.
McGovern has played in 22 matches and still has two years left on his contract, having joined his former Hamilton boss Alex Neil to Norfolk ahead of the current campaign, after impressing for his country at Euro 2016.
There are three further options which have been provided by the club’s academy though, all of whom are facing make-or-break summers.
Declan Rudd is another who is out of contract but the club retain a one-year option for. The 26-year-old, from Diss, has spent the season on loan in League One with Charlton Athletic and has conceded 46 goals in 39 games as the Addicks have stayed clear of relegation trouble.
Rudd now has over 140 senior appearances to his name and may well feel he now needs to continue as a number one, with an 11-game spell in the Premier League not working out especially well last season and former loan club Preston already linked with interest.
Also in the running are 23-year-old Remi Matthews and 21-year-old Ben Killip, neither of who have come close to playing a first-team game for the Canaries.
Gorleston-born Matthews has spent this campaign in the Scottish Premiership with Hamilton, conceding 28 goals in 20 games to build on a League One loan with Doncaster last season, and is another whose deal is expiring but has a one-year option.
Killip looks to be on his way out though, having missed the last 10 matches for City’s U23s as he has been training with League Two play-off hopefuls Luton Town.
The former Lowestoft Town loanee played in Luton Reserves’ 4-1 win over Derby County’s second string earlier this week and Hatters’ chief Nathan Jones has revealed the former Chelsea trainee is not getting a new contract at Norwich, as he considers taking him to Kenilworth Road this summer.
All of which means City have the option to completely revamp their goalkeeper department, with only McGovern and Jones currently having a contract for next season.
Much of that may depend on the opinions of the incoming head coach but it backs up Webber’s comments about the imbalanced squad he has been given free rein to shake up.
Words such as stale and stagnant have been used to describe the squad by many Canaries fans in recent years but the club’s new management team have plenty of scope to start that refresh between the posts.
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