The Canaries tonight completed arguably one of their most important signings of the summer as England goalkeeping prospect Declan Rudd agreed a new, three-year contract with the Norfolk club.
It ties the bright Academy prospect to City until the summer of 2012.
More importantly, should the 18-year-old build on his eye-catching efforts in this year's FA Youth Cup quarter-final run and become a fixture in both the Canary first team and the England Under-19 set-up, it ensures that any prospective Premiership suitor would need to come to the table armed with a big, fat cheque for the young man's services.
Much has long been expected of Rudd. Thus far, the young man has answered every question posed of him. Can he make the next step up and like his predecessor on the Colney goalkeeper production line Joe Lewis and go on to really make a name for himself?
“He has the attributes and the capability of being a top goalkeeper,” said Gunn tonight. On the basis of it takes one to know one, the opinion of the Norwich goalkeeping legend probably holds more weight than that of previous managers.
Not, said Gunn, that Rudd was the finished article. By many a measure, he probably has another ten or 12 years before he reaches his professional peak.
“We have to nurture him the best way we can with his education and training,” said the Canary boss, who in one of his many previous guises at the club was Rudd's goalkeeping coach.
“Whether that's Darran Lovell in the Academy or previously James Hollman, Tommy Wright, myself and more recently Tommy Wright – [we] all say he has a great opportunity to go right to the top.
“He has been recognised at England level and is now playing above his age group and we are delighted to have signed him.”
The player himself was duly delighted to have secured his first, big pro contract.
“I'm very proud,” he told the club's official website this evening. “I'm happy that I've got a new contract for the beginning of the season so I can kick on and, hopefully, get a place in the first team.”
It was City's thrilling run to the last eight of this season's FA Youth Cup competition that really had Rudd's name up in lights – in particular, his penalty shoot-out heroics in the games against first Stoke City and then Everton. On each occasion he appeared to fill the goal; a force was with him.
“It made me realise that the bog occasions are not as scary as they might look – so it's helped me with my confidence and I really enjoyed last season,” he said.
The City boss has already insisted that he would have now qualms about handing Rudd the No1 slot next season now that David Marshall's exit has left the situation vacant.
“Not at all,” said the City boss, speaking earlier this summer.
“He has the temperament and the technique. It would be going into the unknown, but he thrives on the big opportunity. So far, the bigger the game the better the quality he produces.
“Declan is someone who comes into our thoughts for the first team consideration and there is an opportunity for him to join in with our training and to impress in pre-season.”
Whether he has one Colin Doyle for company is another matter after Birmingham City's capture of England Under-21 keeper Joe Hart this weekend on a season-long loan all-but guaranteed the Blues No2 his own, season-long stint in the Football League.
The theory was that Gunn's long-standing friendship with St Andrew's chief Alex McLeish would smooth the way towards Doyle's arrival. Whether any prospective loan deal would come with a first team guarantee is, of course, another matter.
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