With the football world continuing to scrutinise Robert Green’s World Cup gaffe in Rustenberg on Saturday night, another City Academy product may be wondering whether this goalkeeping lark is worth all the flak.
But if he continues his current progress, then current Canary stopper Declan Rudd may be putting himself in the firing line for the Three Lions in years to come.
With the uncertainty surrounding Fraser Forster and his possible return to Norfolk on loan, Rudd is currently City’s first-choice ‘keeper and if they were to play a match tomorrow, he’d be in.
If Paul Lambert fails to get his man, the Norwich boss may decide that Rudd is the next best option, although the smart money would be on a more experienced goalkeeper coming into the squad.
But 19-year-old Rudd, who made eight appearances for Lambert’s side last season, has plenty of time on his hands and he has, of course, already played at all levels in the England Youth setup.
And Lambert has certainly noticed the potential in Rudd, even if a regular first-team gig at Carrow Road may still be a little way away.
“He is a fine young man and a good goalkeeper,” said the Scot last season. “He works hard and will be one to watch, that’s for sure. You will not see a finer goalkeeper of his age.”
The Diss-born ‘keeper starred for England Under-19s in qualifying for the European Championships, to be held in northern France this summer, and anyone who comes into contact with Rudd cannot fail to be impressed.
It all started at Diss High School where his love of football grew under the watchful eye of Head of P.E James Kemp. “He was a very keen and enthusiastic about sport and very committed to training.
“It was very pleasing when Matthew Upson came through and now Declan is coming through, it is great for the school – they are taking the Diss name with them.”
Under-19s boss Noel Blake also has high hopes for the young ‘keeper, who impressed for City when deputising for Forster in 2009-10. “Declan has a big career ahead if he keeps progressing; I have no doubts of that.”
Canary legend Bryan Gunn is also a confirmed admirer of the teenager and after all, the former City player and manager does know a thing or two about goalkeeping.
“It’s all in Declan’s hands, literally, but then again it’s in his feet as well,” said Gunn during City’s march to the FA Youth Cup quarter-finals in 2008-09 when the Scot was in charge at Carrow Road. “He showed the confidence he’s got as a young goalkeeper.
“Declan has got an opportunity to be a top quality goalkeeper. He’s just got to be focused on the job ahead and not get rushed into things. We have to try and develop him in the right way.
“When he comes into first-team training he doesn’t look out of place and Declan has got a great opportunity to be a top class goalkeeper.”
However, the talent between the sticks in Norfolk doesn’t end there, with fellow prospect Jed Steer also making a name for himself after being honoured at England Youth levels also.
And another former Canary chief, Glenn Roeder, was quick to mention 17-year-old Steer’s name soon after being appointed Norwich manager.
“You have one of the best young keepers I have seen in years in young Jed. If you think that Declan is good, you have seen nothing. It is very rare to come to a club and have so many good young ‘keepers.”
But for the time being, Rudd is next in line for Lambert’s Championship new boys and if he has his way, the boy from Diss could have the world’s eyes on him in four years time, just like poor old Greeno. Stranger things have happened.
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