On-loan Everton FC star John Ruddy keeping it clean north of the border
AT the tender age of 23, John Ruddy's first team Everton career is already a dim and distant memory. It was four years ago that the big, blond goalkeeper stepped off the substitutes' bench just eight minutes into a Premier League game with Blackburn. With Nigel Martyn injured and Iain Turner sent off, Ruddy was handed an unexpected debut. Unfazed, he kept a clean sheet. It's a feat he's repeated many times since in hugely impressive loan spells at Stockport and now Motherwell, but Ruddy accepts that the imminent arrival of Slovakian international Jan Mucha at Goodison means it's unlikely to be a performance he'll be repeating again soon. 'I've resigned myself to the fact that my time at Everton is at an end, but I've enjoyed it and I've got nothing bad to say about them,' he said. There's a reason that Ruddy is so sanguine. His form at Motherwell has been stellar. He is second in Soccer AM's Golden Glove chart for best shut-out-to-matches ratio - behind Swansea goalkeeper Dorus de Vries - and is close to overtaking a Motherwell club record of 17 clean sheets (a shut-out against St Mirren last Tuesday was his 15th of the season) - while Saturday's 3-1 win over Hearts kept Motherwell fourth in the Scottish Premier League and on course for a place in Europe next season.
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