Ohhhh Declan Rudd… he’s one of our own!
He might be one of our own, but he might not be our own player at the start of next season. Declan Rudd may start to consider his future at the club given the lack of faith shown in him by Alex Neil.
Norwich’s current first-choice is John Ruddy. Ruddy cost Norwich a lot of points in the Championship last season and probably had the worst campaign as a City player in his career at that point. So, coming into this current Premier League season Norwich fans were hoping that he could turn his form around.
Ruddy has been, if anything, worse this season than he was last season. Ruddy has cost Norwich a vital amount of points this season with silly, needless, errors time and again.
So, after Ruddy continued to make mistakes and play poorly, Declan Rudd was finally given his chance by Alex Neil when Norwich travelled away to face Watford. Rudd impressed, despite Norwich playing poorly, and made a number of good saves during the match.
Rudd went on to win Norwich’s player of the month for December and looked set to become Norwich’s first-choice goalkeeper until the end of the season. However, Norwich’s form dipped in January and February and after a bucket load of goals conceded, Rudd was dropped to bring John Ruddy back in last month.
In my opinion, it was completely unfair and unjust to drop Rudd and bring Ruddy back into the side. Rudd only had a couple of games with the new defensive signings (Ivo Pinto and Timm Klose) and was being used as a scapegoat for some truly awful defending and tactics from the defence and Alex Neil.
Also, Ruddy did nothing to deserve a recall to the side. He was given a chance to impress in the FA Cup against Manchester City and conceded three goals, one of which was a result of a mistake from Ruddy. He didn’t look impressive in any sense of the word. So, why did Neil bring him back into the side?
I honestly have no clue, Neil said it was down to his ‘experience’ but what does that even mean? If he’s not playing well, which he hasn’t particularly done since his return, then why would experience matter? Surely in a relegation fight you want young hungry players who want to prove their point and not past it players who look like they don’t care and have gotten complacent.
But, back to Rudd. If you stack his stats up against Ruddy it really does make you wonder what Neil is thinking. Rudd averaged three saves per match, compared to Ruddy two. Rudd also averaged more saves per goal, 1.57, compared to Ruddy, 1.42. Even Rudd’s catching dominated Ruddy’s. Rudd’s catch success this season has been 98%, but Ruddy’s is down fairly low at 90%, with the Englishman flapping at a lot of crosses. (Squaka stats)
Rudd had two clean sheets in his 11 matches, whereas Ruddy has kept just one more in nine more matches. It is also worth noting that in the three games Ruddy kept clean sheets, he faced just one shot on target combined (Swansea and West Brom failed to get a single shot on target). Yet, Ruddy is Norwich’s first-choice and that surely won’t change between now and the end of the season.
Regardless of whether Norwich stay up or go down, it looks as though Ruddy will continue to be first-choice, unfortunately. This means that Declan Rudd will have to weigh up his future at the club and consider leaving Norfolk after 17-years.
Since coming through the academy and breaking into the senior squad in 2008, Rudd has played just 34 times for the club, 11 of which came this season. His game time has been limited to say the least and now he’s 25-years-old, he may want to start playing regular first-team football.
I think that, whichever league we are in next season, Rudd should be first-choice no matter what. He has shown he has the ability to be the main man. But, I just don’t think Alex Neil has the confidence in him, which is a massive shame.
It looks like Rudd may well have to leave for pastures new next season and I for one will be really sad to see him go, especially if it means John Ruddy continues as number one, even though Rudd deserves it more.
Rudd was once tipped to be one of England’s next best ‘keepers and spent a lot of time with the England under-21 set-up. However, Norwich have stunted his development, with the events of this season being a prime example of that.
His shot-stopping powers are there for all to see and he is clearly a very talented goalkeeper. I think if Norwich would have used him last season in the Championship, then he would have had more experienced and would have shined this season in the Premier League.
I think that if he was to leave, a move to a top Championship club would be the best and most suitable move for him. A team like Middlesbrough would be a good move. Their ‘keeper, Dimitrios Konstantopoulos, is now 37-years-old and Rudd would fit in well at a team like that.
But, we will have to wait till the summer to see what the future holds for Rudd.