John Thomas Gordon Ruddy (born 24 October 1986) is an English professional footballer who plays for Norwich City and the England national team as a goalkeeper. While being a good and reliable shot-stopper, he also has a reputation for being a dominant keeper, commanding his box on crosses and set pieces.
Ruddy began his career at Cambridge United, before signing for Everton as a 19-year-old. He spent five years with Everton, but made just one appearance, while playing on loan at nine different clubs. Ruddy was signed by Paul Lambert to play for Norwich in 2010 and, in his first season, was part of the team that finished second in The Championship, gaining promotion to the Premier League. The following year, Norwich finished twelfth in the Premier League, and Ruddy was selected by new England manager Roy Hodgson for the squad for Euro 2012. However, on 25 May 2012, he was ruled out after breaking his finger during training. He made his debut in a 2–1 win against Italy in August 2012. He suffered a long term thigh injury in November 2012, but returned to help Norwich to an 11th-place finish at the end of the 2012-13 Premier League season.
Born in St Ives, Cambridgeshire, Ruddy began his career at Cambridge United and made his professional debut in the final game of the 2003–04 season at Leyton Orient's Brisbane Road stadium on 8 May 2004, keeping a clean sheet and saving a penalty. Ruddy earned his place as Cambridge's first choice keeper in the 2004–05 season, making 38 appearances in a season that saw the U's relegated from league two after finishing bottom with 30 points. This was despite Ruddy's tremendous efforts that included keeping 9 clean sheets and conceding just 45 goals.
Ruddy had a trial at Manchester United in November 2004, before moving to Everton in the summer of 2005 for a fee of around £250,000 that would rise depending on appearances.
Ruddy was called into the England Under-19 squad in 2005 after being scouted by England goalkeeping coach Ray Clemence and was touted by his manager David Moyes as a future England goalkeeper.
In September 2005, Ruddy signed for Walsall on loan, making four appearances in League One before returning to Everton. Loan spells with Rushden & Diamonds and Chester City followed.
Ruddy made his first and only appearance for Everton in February 2006 in unusual circumstances. Nine minutes into the match against Blackburn Rovers, Iain Turner was sent off for handling outside the area. Since Turner was substituting for injured first-choice and second-choice keepers Nigel Martyn and Richard Wright, it meant that Ruddy was the only keeper left who could play. Ruddy went on to keep a clean sheet in a 1–0 victory.
In September 2006, Ruddy went on loan again. A one-month deal was agreed with Stockport County, which was extended to three months after some impressive performances. He then agreed a one-month loan with Wrexham in February 2007, but failed to establish a place in the team during his time at the Racecourse Ground and the Red Dragons decided against extending the loan beyond the initial month. On 21 April, Ruddy completed an emergency one-week loan to League One side Bristol City, and helped them move closer to promotion, by playing one game – a 3–1 win over Carlisle United, and later joked he would ask if he were eligible for a runners-up medal as City finished second and won promotion. In January 2009, he went out on loan until the end of the 2008–09 season to Crewe Alexandra.
His numerous loan moves meant that Ruddy had played for eight clubs before his 21st birthday.
On 24 July 2009, Ruddy joined Scottish Premier League side Motherwell on a six-month loan deal, to vie with Michael Fraser and Sebastian Kosiorowski for the number 1 jersey. Ruddy kept clean sheets during a 0–0 home draw against Rangers on 12 September 2009 and a 0–0 an away draw against Celtic on 17 October 2009. He also saved a Barry Robson penalty in a 3–2 loss to Celtic on 12 December 2009. When the original loan deal expired in January 2010, the Fir Park club decided that they wanted to keep Ruddy for longer and an extension of a month was agreed with Everton. On 27 January 2010, it was announced that both Ruddy and Everton teammate Lukas Jutkiewicz were to extend their stay at the Scottish Premier League side until May 2010. Ruddy finished the Scottish Premier League season with an impressive 15 clean sheets from 34 appearances.
On 5 July 2010, Ruddy signed for Championship side Norwich City for an undisclosed fee, and was given the number 1 shirt, last worn by Michael Theoklitos. In 2012, Paul Lambert revealed that on two earlier occasions he had considered signing Ruddy for clubs he'd previously managed: "It is funny but ... [I] ... went to watch him for Crewe at MK Dons ... but he had an absolute stinker. We also saw him when he was at Stockport and ... I decided against him at that time, but when Fraser went and it was clear we wouldn’t be able to get him back again I knew John had had a really good season at Motherwell. There was that clamour to sign Fraser, but with the finances we just couldn’t do that. I wanted somebody with the same stature, a big goalkeeper, and John had that."
Ruddy made his debut for City against Watford in the opening fixture of the 2010–11 season which Norwich lost 3–2 at Carrow Road. He kept his first clean sheet of the season in a 1–0 away win against Scunthorpe United on 14 August 2010, following this up with another clean sheet against Swansea on 21 August 2010 which included a penalty save that atoned for his error that led to it. In Ruddy's first season for Norwich he played 45 out of the 46 league games helping City to the Premier League, keeping a clean sheet during the 1-0 away win at Portsmouth on 2 May 2011 which sealed promotion for the Canaries.
Ruddy started the 2011–12 season as the first choice keeper again for Norwich, starting the 1–1 draw at the DW Stadium against Wigan Athletic. He followed this up by making numerous good saves during Norwich's first home premier league game in seven years in a 1-1 draw against Stoke, including a penalty stop against Jon Walters and a save denying Matthew Etherington from a direct free kick. During the next game he received his only red card of the season in the match against Chelsea after a foul on Ramires that led to a penalty. However, Ruddy's fortunes were reversed during the return fixture against Chelsea on 21 January 2012 when he kept his first clean sheet of the season during a 0-0 draw at Carrow Road, making several impressive stops from Fernando Torres. Ruddy was voted Player's Player of the Season following Norwich's twelfth-place finish, this was a testament to Ruddy's performances for a highly attacking Norwich side, leading to suggestions that he should be called up for Roy Hodgson's England Euro 2012 squad. Ruddy's claim for a squad place was only strengthened by his excellent performance during the 2-0 home win against Aston Villa on the final day of the season.
For the 2012-13 season Ruddy found himself first choice again ahead of Declan Rudd, Jed Steer and new goalie Mark Bunn. Once again, he saved a penalty during Norwich's first home premier league fixture of the season during a 1-1 draw with Queens Park Rangers, although Bobby Zamora scored the rebound. He kept memorable clean sheets against Arsenal and Manchester United as Norwich won 1-0 on both occasions, both occurring during an outstanding run of form that saw him keep four clean sheets and concede just two goals in six games. Unfortunately this great run of form came to an end during a 1-1 draw against his former club Everton when he suffered a thigh injury. He later underwent surgery, ruling him out for three months However, Ruddy's injury later worsened, with the expectation that he would not be fit again until April. Ruddy returned to action on the 7th of May 2013 in Norwich's 4-0 Premier League win over West Bromwich Albion, which confirmed mathematical safety from relegation. He also played in Norwich's final game of the season on 19 May 2013, a 3-2 away win at Manchester City.
Despite the previous long term injury, Ruddy started the 2013-14 season as Norwich's first choice keeper in the 2-2 draw with Everton at Carrow Road on 17 August 2013. Ruddy had a tough start to the season which included mistake riddled performances against Spurs, Chelsea and Manchester City. However, since the 5-1 away thrashing at Liverpool Ruddy has been in fine form keeping 4 clean sheets in 9 games, conceding just 7 goals. During this spell Ruddy produced some outstanding performances, including the 2-0 smash and grab away win at West Bromwich Albion on 7 December 2013 where he saved 8 shots, including a brilliant tip around the post from a close range Shane Long header.
On 16 May 2012, Ruddy received his first senior international call-up when Roy Hodgson selected him as a member of the England squad for UEFA Euro 2012. However, a broken finger ruled him out of the tournament, and Jack Butland was called up to replace him. Ruddy was called up for the friendly against Italy in Bern, Switzerland, on 10 August 2012, along with Butland and Joe Hart. He came on for Butland at half-time to make his senior England debut, and made some key saves as England won the game 2–1, keeping a clean sheet in his first England appearance after Butland conceded in the first half.
As a result of Ruddy's team, Norwich City, getting relegated at the end of the 2013–14 season, Ruddy was not included in Hodgson's World Cup squad, with Joe Hart, Fraser Forster and Ben Foster selected instead.
Ruddy married his wife Laura on 2 June 2012. Prior to the Euro 2012 tournament, he jokingly cited breaking his finger as the reason he was able to have his wedding on that date. He is nicknamed "The Iceman".As of 10 June 2015
Norwich City Players' Player of the Year: 2011–12