John Ruddy: I would rather stay up with Norwich than go to World Cup

After a long time spent in the League’s lower reaches, Norwich’s No 1 is keeping his feet firmly on the ground in top flight

There are probably very few situations in football quite so daunting: to be a Premier League goalkeeper in a relegation battle, under bombardment, and tasked with serving as that last crucial barrier. Norwich City’s John Ruddy is better placed than most to explain the mindset at such heights, given the amount of time he spent in England’s lower leagues. A few aspects still strike him, but also one particular opponent.

“The pace of play,” Ruddy says. “The pace of the ball, the movement of the strikers, the intelligence of them. I’ve obviously witnessed it with [Luis] Suarez in particular, the speed of thought he has. He’s taking shots people wouldn’t take in a million years and he’s pulling them off, making people look stupid.

“You just sort of stand there and think: ‘what’s just happened?’ I remember the Arsenal game [4-1 at the Emirates], when they scored the first [Jack Wilshere goal]. That was ridiculous. I remember just standing there and looking behind me and seeing the ball... it’s just so quick and so precise. You can only admire it really. But that’s what I want to be. I want to be in that situation, and hopefully I can stay there for many years to come as well.”

Such a situation will present itself again on 19 June in Sao Paulo when England take on Suarez’s Uruguay for what may be the World Cup group’s crunch game. “It’s very much a target,” Ruddy says. To even be involved on the bench would represent some rise, given where he was four years ago. While England were toiling around South Africa in the last World Cup, the young goalkeeper was spending his last days at Everton, where he had made just one League appearance but gone on nine different loan moves. As Ruddy admits, he was an “unknown”. It is probably for that very reason that he has a definite answer to an otherwise difficult question: what would he take: top-flight survival or a place in Brazil?

“Staying up in the Premier League, without a doubt. People might think that’s a bit strange but that’s my bread and butter, that’s what provides me and my family with a life, that’s what I enjoy doing week in, week out. The World Cup’s a fantastic opportunity but that’s every four years.

“Getting into the Premier League got me into the England squad so it can be done, and hopefully I can do both come the end of the season.”

Achieving that would also bring together another few strands of Ruddy’s career. The 27-year-old is effectively in competition for England’s reserve goalkeeping place with Celtic’s Fraser Foster – whom he replaced at Norwich in 2010 – and the injury-prone Ben Foster.

Newly promoted to the Championship, Norwich wanted to keep the on-loan Forster – only for his host club Newcastle United to price them out. Ruddy proved the next best option. In the top flight he has kept more clean sheets than everyone except Wojciech Szczesny, Petr Cech and Hugo Lloris.

“I think that speaks volumes, not just for myself but us as a defensive unit,” Ruddy says. “It shows how far we’ve come on this season. If you take a couple of games out, the Liverpools, Man City, Arsenal, I think our goals-to-game ratio conceded would be very good.”

Forster has broken Bobby Clark’s 43-year-old Scottish record of 1,155 minutes without conceding – but is operating in a lesser league. “I think if you are playing in the top league in England, you probably should [have an edge],” Ruddy says. “That’s not detracting anything from Fraser, he’s a top-quality goalkeeper. The record he’s just set speaks for itself. I don’t care what level you’re playing at, that’s a fantastic achievement.”

Today’s fixture has an edge quite apart from the fight for survival. Norwich have been involved in a legal dispute with Aston Villa over the departure of manager Paul Lambert. Speaking at the launch of Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare, Ruddy gives credit to his old manager for “taking a gamble” on him back in 2010. “Certainly, given where it’s gone, he’s played a massive part in [my career] without a shadow of a doubt. I can’t thank him enough for taking the opportunity to take me to Norwich. Without that platform, who knows where I’d be.”

Norwich’s current manager Chris Hughton has come under huge pressure, but his keeper insists the squad have great respect for him. “If there wasn’t a great liking for him, to be quite blunt, I don’t think he’d still be here,” he says. “There wouldn’t be that effort there, and I think that’s what you have seen in recent weeks.

“We feel like we can go into every game and win. Mentally we’re in a good place and performance-wise we’re in a better place, so confidence is fairly high.” Ruddy is far from daunted.

Aston Villa v Norwich City is on  Sky Sports 3 today, kick-off 4.30pm.

John Ruddy took on Asmir Begovic in the Plants vs. GOALIES Pea-nalty shootout. To see who won, visit ea.vg/plantsvsgoalies. Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare is OUT NOW on Xbox One and Xbox 360

News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Extras
indybest

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Life and Style
news

As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”

Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition