1st Team Goalkeepers: John Ruddy (25), Declan Rudd (21), Jed Steer (19)
Norwich superseded many people’s expectations in their return to the top flight and John Ruddy’s season mirrored that of the club almost perfectly. Simply put, he was brilliant and he fully deserved his call up to the England squad for Euro 2012. A broken finger caused him to miss that trip, but it’s unlikely to be his last involvement with the international set up.
Similar to his club, Ruddy arrived in the Premier League with acclaim, but doubts about his ability to step up to the next level. It didn’t take long for those doubts to silenced. He was excellent from day one and his agility and reflexes were an important part of getting the Canaries up and running rather than scraping around for points.
The new season promises much for Ruddy. Last season he performed to a high level, but with more experience and youth on his side, he could get even better. The main area to improve upon is his angles. His speed and movement often cover for errors in this department, but there were times when suspect positioning made things easier for the strikers than they needed to be.
Ruddy is the undisputed number one and barring a huge dip in form, Chris Hughton is unlikely to turn to his back-up goalkeepers too often. Declan Rudd is very highly rated, but hasn’t had much first team football in the last couple of seasons. He has the ability to succeed, but when it comes to the Premier League, experience is invaluable and he needs playing time. The same can be said for Jed Steer. He’s appeared for England’s underage sides, but not featured much at Carrow Road. He spent part of last season on loan with Yeovil and another spell learning his trade is likely.
The future looks bright for Norwich’s goalkeepers and the present isn’t bad either. If anything, Hughton might want to look at bringing in a more experienced back-up just in case Ruddy was to miss a big part of the season. Other than that, they can be pretty happy.