Rudd deserved his starting role insists boss Neil

STARTING SPOT: Diss' Declan Rudd was in action for Norwich in the Premier League on Saturday
STARTING SPOT: Diss' Declan Rudd was in action for Norwich in the Premier League on Saturday

Declan Rudd was named as Norwich City’s number one on merit - according to manager Alex Neil.

The 24-year-old, from Diss, was selected for the Canaries’ starting XI to face Watford in the Premier League on Saturday.

But despite making a string of important saves, the keeper was left picking the ball out of his net twice as the Hornets earned a 2-0 victory at Vicarage Road.

“I just felt that Declan was due an opportunity,” Neil told canaries.co.uk, after picking Rudd ahead of England stopper John Ruddy.

“Like anybody in the team, you’re in the team on merit.

“If you play really well and you deserve to be in the team, then you will be. If not, then I need to make decisions.”

And turning his attentions to Rudd’s performance, Neil added: “He made a few saves in the games, I think he did ok.

“Unfortunately for him, we didn’t win the match.”

There was little Rudd could do to prevent Watford taking a 30th-minute lead as Troy Deeney beat him from the penalty spot after Odion Ighalo had been fouled by Alex Tettey.

The Diss shot-stopper has had a strange relationship with spot kicks during his time at Carrow Road.

His first involvement in the Premier League was to be beaten by a Frank Lampard penalty following Ruddy’s red card in a 3-1 defeat against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in August 2011.

But he marked his full Premier League debut by denying West Brom’s Peter Odemwingie from 12 yards later that year.

However, it was Rudd’s personal battle with Ighalo which was the highlight of Saturday’s clash.

After Rudd made three superb stops to deny his in-form foe, the Nigerian had the last laugh as he converted his ninth goal of the season in stoppage time to make sure of victory and leave the Canaries in 16th place in the table.

The youngster could be in contention to keep his place between the sticks tomorrow at home to Everton (3pm).