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John Ruddy’s renaissance at Norwich City has answered any questions over who is the Canaries’ number one goalkeeper

John Ruddy shares a joke with manager Alex Neil, ahead of Norwich City's Championship victory at Cardiff. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

John Ruddy shares a joke with manager Alex Neil, ahead of Norwich City's Championship victory at Cardiff. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

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Norwich City battled harder than at any point this season to fend off Newcastle United on Tuesday night – but it was their last line of defence that stood tallest.

John Ruddy mops up after denying Ayoze Perez with a stunning save against Newcastle. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesJohn Ruddy mops up after denying Ayoze Perez with a stunning save against Newcastle. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Some may have feared Alex Neil could have a serious goalkeeping issue to resolve this season, as the City boss threw summer signing Michael McGovern into his Championship reckoning after the opening games – before the Northern Irishman and Euro 2016 hero then struggled to convince.

It was injury that first took John Ruddy out of action but off the back of an indifferent Premier League campaign and duels with Declan Rudd, there were still plenty of question marks over whether the Canaries had the best glovesman at their disposal to make this campaign a success.

It’s a question that now hasn’t been asked for a while.

MORE: Cameron Jerome happy to take a point from Norwich City’s tough tangle with Newcastle

John Ruddy had to rely on the EFL Cup for senior action earlier in the season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesJohn Ruddy had to rely on the EFL Cup for senior action earlier in the season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Ruddy’s string of fine saves on Tuesday were as good as anything the 30-year-old goalkeeper has produced during his six and a half years at Carrow Road.

From preventing Aleksandar Mitrovic making it 2-0 so early in midweek, to the smartest of stops to thwart Ayoze Perez following Newcastle’s equaliser – it was a night Ruddy could feel proud.

And yet, the City number one’s renaissance is not about one game.

Before last weekend, Ruddy was averaging a Championship clean sheet every other game since his return to the side at Loftus Road back in mid November – a key change, given how few and far between they were before then.

There have been wobbles of course. This is a City season unlikely to be short on improvement any time soon.

However from one superb save to deny Tom Ince earning back-to-back clean sheets over Brentford and Derby during the New Year period, to a dominant aerial display in the wilds of the Welsh capital as City won at Cardiff earlier this month – it’s been enough to leave the remaining questions and accusatory looks from supporters aimed at other areas of the pitch.

One of my Newcastle Chronicle colleagues before Tuesday’s kick-off labelled the City keeper as the player he felt could cause United the most problems. I’ll confess that his answer raised an eyebrow.

Come full-time, it was hard not to nod in agreement – with the promise of much more to come as City continue their desperate fight to regain Championship ground.

Follow Michael Bailey on Twitter @michaeljbailey and Facebook @mbjourno

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5 comments

  • Perhaps his drop in form last season was something to do with him having to play behind a back four that included Whittaker, Bassong & Martin. It certainly looks as if he has lost weight & looks more agile since he came back with a back four including Pinto , Klose & now a Dutchman who looks the buisiness

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    Victor Bullimore

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • Like all players, they're only human. His levels dropped for whatever reason and he was rightly replaced. However, it shows the strength of the man that he's battled his way back in, and appears to be experiencing a good run of form. Always been a decent keeper. I hope we don't get on his back when he makes his next human error and then history repeats.

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    Michael Starr

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • From pictures, it looks like Ruddy has lost a bit of weight. Perhaps this is making him feel better which is helping him to play better. Feeling better and improved confidence must help any player, especially the last man!

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    manbythesea

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • I was so critical of Ruddy for so many months. I am so pleased he is proving me wrong. It is great that he is playing well again and it gives us such a good chance to get back into the play offs. Long may it continue. The days where he didn't seem to be able to save anything at all are now almost forgotten. I think his attitude has changed. No longer does he seem like the man who felt that everyone owed him for heroics of several seasons ago. His confidence must be back. I dont agree with Harry Mcardle above as Rudd and McGovern got in when Ruddy was either injured or playing terribly. They deserved a chance as Ruddy was not playing to his previous high standards. Anyway he has shown great character to return and play well again.

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    Edinburgh Canary

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

  • some of A.N.,s biggest errors have been to drop John Ruddy.Rudd and Mcgovern were not sensible replacements at crucial times costing the team points.

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    harry mcardle

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

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