Rudd determined to keep Canaries’ number one spot

MAN OF THE MATCH: Declan Rudd, pictured during a loan spell at Preston North End, is aiming to retain his place
MAN OF THE MATCH: Declan Rudd, pictured during a loan spell at Preston North End, is aiming to retain his place

Declan Rudd will make it his mission to keep his place in the Norwich City starting XI - following a pep talk from manager Alex Neil.

The Diss-raised keeper collected the man of the match award following the Canaries’ hard-fought 1-1 draw with Everton on Saturday.

And the 24-year-old, who returned to Premier League action the previous week at the expense of regular number one John Ruddy, put in yet another sterling performance at Carrow Road.

Rudd could do little to prevent Romelu Lukaku giving the Toffees a 1-0 interval lead from a close-range header, but he pulled off a series of superb stops to keep his side in the game before Wes Hoolahan bagged a point from close range in the 47th minute.

Then at the death, Rudd made a close-range stop to deny Everton midfielder Gareth Barry and make sure of the draw.

Speaking to the BT Sport cameras after the match, Rudd, addressed the advice given to him by boss Neil.

“If he puts me in the team I’ve got to keep the ball out of the net,” he said.

“If I do that it helps us get points and try to get up the table.

“The manager put me in and said to make sure I stay there.”

Reflecting on the game, in which a spirited second-half performance saw City paper over the cracks of a poor opening 45, the keeper added: “We’ve shown it out there, it wasn’t going our way in the first half and we pulled together.

“We need to show we can go out and play like we did in the second half every game.

“We come out in the second half and got stuck in and made sure everything was better than the first half.”

Despite the point, Norwich finished the weekend in the Premier League’s relegation zone.

However, both Norwich and Rudd will be desperate to climb the table as they travel to Old Trafford on Saturday and aim heap more pressure on under-fire Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal.