John Ruddy

John Ruddy: Talentspotter

Highly impressive Norwich City goalkeeper John Ruddy talks to FourFourTwo back in September 2005, when he was an 18-year-old at Everton.

Nickname
Iceman. The lads at Cambridge gave me that because I never let things ruffle me.

As a boy I supported...
Manchester United. Like most kids, you follow a team that’s winning things, and Peter Schmeichel is also a big hero of mine. Saying that, I was always a central midfielder. I only went in goal when I was 14. It was probably the best decision I’ve ever made.

Teams played for
Cambridge United and Everton. When I signed in March, I was allowed to stay with Cambridge and help our relegation battle, but I came up regularly to train with the Everton lads before moving in the summer. I also spent some time on trial at Manchester United last season, which was a great experience.

Strengths
Shot-stopping and taking crosses. I’ve got a big physical presence in the goal.

Weaknesses
My kicking hasn’t been the best of late, and I can also sharpen up on my decision-making – every day at Everton is a learning curve for me.

Heroes
Schmeichel was immense for United: he will go down as one of the all-time great keepers. At Everton, I’m also lucky to work with three international keepers: Nigel Martyn, Richard Wright and Chris Woods, our coach.

Highlights
Making my debut for Cambridge on the final day of the 2003-04 season – and obviously joining Everton.

Lowlights
Relegation last season. Having come through the ranks, it was horrible to see Cambridge drop out of the League. I just hope they can get back straight away.

Following in your footsteps...
I think Yeovil’s Lee Johnson has the potential to play at the highest level. He’s a great all-rounder at the heart of midfield and has the technical attributes to go all the way.

International honours
I’ve trained with the England U19 squad.

Best advice given
From my youth coaches at Cambridge – Kit Carson and Ricky Duncan – through to the likes of Nigel and Richard at Everton, I’m always told to give it my best shot at all times. Even when things don’t go well, you’ve got to give it 100 percent otherwise your game will really suffer.

Wheels
Er, I don’t drive yet. When I was travelling back and forth to Everton I went on the train, but I’m taking driving lessons and will hopefully have passed once the new season gets under way. I haven’t even thought about what car I’ll buy... I’ll probably go for a cheap Fiesta, just in case I wreck it!

Hobbies
When I was younger I would play every sport, from football to bowling to badminton – but once I’d become a professional footballer, I realised I had to relax as much as possible in my spare time. Nowadays I’ll chill out at home or do a bit of shopping with my mates.

Flicks
I prefer films with a strong storyline, and I don’t think you can beat The Shawshank Redemption for that. It’s got everything.

Jodie Marsh or Michelle Marsh? 
I’d go for Jodie because she’s more of a feisty character.

Paul Robinson or David James?
I like them both but Paul Robinson is the top man at the moment and he’s also younger, so will only get better.

Hollyoaks or Emmerdale?
Hollyoaks has the better-looking girls, though I was a bit disappointed when Jodi Albert quit the show.

Most famous person met?
Before I joined Everton, I suppose it was meeting all the Man United players. Obviously I’d admired players like Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane as a kid, and to actually train with them was a fantastic experience. The power in their shooting and the accuracy was light years ahead of what I’d been used to, and Giggsy in particular was a crafty character when it came to one-on-ones.

If I hadn’t been a footballer...
I’d probably be a student. I wasn’t that good academically at school, but I would have maybe tried for a sports science degree at college.

Tell us something we don’t know about you
A little over a year ago I was still a ball boy at Cambridge United. I got a lot of stick off the lads when I first broke into the team but they were all made up for me when I joined Everton.

In five years’ time I’ll be...
Hopefully the first-choice keeper at Everton. I know Nigel and Richard are ahead of me, but I’ve been brought in as a long-term prospect so, fingers crossed, I’ll be well on my way by then.

Interview: Luke Nicoli. From the September 2005 issue of FourFourTwo.


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