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Any Ruddy Chance?

By Dick Anderson :  12/03/2010 :  Comments (5) :
During the summer of 2005 David Moyes spent £250,000 on a 19-year-old 6ft+ goalkeeper called John Ruddy.

The young stopper was playing for Cambridge at the time. He'd played over 40 games for Cambridge and earned himself a big reputation. Moyes at the time commented that Ruddy had a big future in front of him in both Everton and England shirts. Ruddy was a regular for the England U19 side.

In February 2006 Ruddy made his Everton and Premiership debut against Blackburn. Richard Wright was injured (the infamous 'sign' injury), Iain Turner started the match but was sent off after 9 minutes. Ruddy came on and played the rest of the match. Despite looking nervy at first he soon settled keeping a clean sheet and helping Everton to a 1-0 victory.

To date this is his one and only Everton appearance.

Ruddy spent the following three years in the reserves or out on loan in the lower leagues. He had a good spell at Stockport where he kept 8 clean sheets in 11 games but he never got near the Everton first team as Tim Howard established himself as No1.

Ruddy was in danger of dropping off the radar until July 2009 when he got a season long loan to Scotish Premiership side Motherwell.

To date Ruddy has played over 30 games for Motherwell and this week celebrated his 15th clean sheet for the Europa League chasing side.

Ruddy is strongly tipped to win Motherwell's player of the year and their manager Craig Brown has more then once claimed that Ruddy's presence on and off the field is very important.

Other people too have started noticing Ruddy's form. Brown wants to make Ruddy a permanent Motherwell player, Celtic are reportedly interested in him and even David Moyes sent keeper coach Chris Woods out scouting to check on his form.

Sadly though Ruddy has begun to accept that his future probably isn't at Everton. Tim Howard is in his prime at only 31 years old and could play for another 7 years.

Of course Ruddy could come back to Everton and be Howard's back-up but Moyes has already agreed a deal for Slovakian International keeper Jan Mucha. At only 27 Mucha should provide great competition for Howard but its hard to see where Ruddy fits into Moyes plans.

Ruddy is now 23 years old. Admittedly thats young for a keeper but he's at an age now where he has to start playing football. One appearance in five years for Everton simply isn't enough.

Next season, Moyes will have Howard and Mucha as his first choice keepers so does he allow Ruddy to leave Everton or does he force him to return and play for the reserves again?

How long is Ruddy's Everton contract?

Is it fair to keep Ruddy at Everton with little or no chance of him becoming a regular starter?

His loan at Motherwell has proven that he is a decent keeper.

There's a very strong possibility that Ruddy could sign for Celtic and end up playing Champions League football. How gutted would we Everton fans be if Ruddy impressed so much that he did as Moyes predicted go on to play for England?

Moyes has a real problem with Ruddy. Does he dare allow him to leave permanently? Its a big decision and I wouldn't want to have to make it.

Reader Comments

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Andy Crooks
1   Posted 14/03/2010 at 08:08:36

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Good point, Dick. Can you imagine what the signing of Nash did for Ruddy’s confidence?
Mike Allison
2   Posted 14/03/2010 at 10:38:29

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I don’t really see it as a massive issue, Ruddy can be sent out on a season long loan again next year, maybe to Celtic, maybe to a Championship club, maybe even to a Premier League club. 23 is still very young for a keeper, and its not like he’s being stifled, he’s developing nicely out on loan. If we were to become the Everton goalkeeper of the future I’d say we’re going the right way about it.

That’s not to say that that is necessarily what is happening though. We just don’t know if Moyes rates him or not. I like him, not from watching him loads, but his size, his apparent strengths, and the ’reviews’ he’s been getting suggest he’s got what it takes. I for one would like to see him involved here next year, but the Mucha signing makes that unlikely, however, it also means we can afford to ’lose’ him on loan for the year which will be good for his development. The Nash signing, I would suggest, was a very similar idea, and Mucha is a replacement for him, ie someone who will accept being a back-up and not suffer for lack of playing time.

Not that its a great example, as he’s not set the world alight yet, but Ben Foster was bought by Man United and loaned out at least two years running if not longer. It could be we’re trying a similar thing with Ruddy, however the lack of noise coming out of Goodison about him does make me pessimistic.
Jeff Armstrong
3   Posted 14/03/2010 at 16:37:52

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Why lay out much needed funds on Muncha when we have a ready made no2 already on the books, after a season at Motherwell to come back and play second fiddle to Howard would be a natural way of developing his progress, anyway the way Tim has been playing lately it might not be that long a wait, He just does not command the area, the goal against the R.S was pathetic, also what has happened to Ian Turner?
Martin Clark
4   Posted 14/03/2010 at 17:57:05

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Rate Ruddy higher than Turner. You’d wonder what a keeper has to do to get a chance though. 1 game 1 clean sheet and a good reputation where ever he’s been out on loan.

Think he’s only got another year left on his contract which makes the decision harder. If he had two or more, you’d let him stay at Motherwell or a similar team on loan again to get much needed experience rather than sitting on the bench, then bring him into the team, giving him games in at least the cups. Thats if you still thought Howard is better. But why would he sign a new contract with a team that hasn’t given him a sniff of 1st team football.

John McLoughlin
5   Posted 14/03/2010 at 19:42:47

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The few times I’ve seen him I’ve been impressed and this season I thought he’d be on the bench rather than Nash. The signing of our new goalie must mean the end of Nash and Turner.

If we got offered £1 million, I reckon we’d take it for ruddy otherwise I’d loan him out again next season and see what happens. Howard could go to pot and Ruddy shine and be given a new contract offer and a chance to shine...

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