Tim's Praise For 'Brother' Ruddy
Blues keeper looking forward to seeing old training mate
John Ruddy is one of the best goalkeepers Tim Howard has worked with.
That is the verdict of the Blues' US international as David Moyes' squad prepare for Saturday's encounter with Norwich at Carrow Road.
Ruddy, now 25, will be making his 75th appearance for the Canaries this weekend having cemented his position as the club's number one following his move from Everton in July 2010.
Howard is not surprised by the success Ruddy has enjoyed with Norwich.
He told evertontv: "In my career I have worked with a lot of goalkeepers and he has been one of my favourites to work with, probably up there with my favourite goalkeeper.
"His attitude, his wilingness to learn, to push himself and to get better. He was always pushing to improve and to go out on loan to get better.
"He had the chance to go to Norwich and he helped get them promoted from the Championship, helped to keep them in the Premier League and he is a guy I keep in touch with often. I look out for the Norwich results because I'm so excited for him and because I know how much hard work he has put in to get where he is. Seeing that pay-off, I feel like a proud big brother."
And that proud big brother has been impressed by the increasing maturity Ruddy has shown in his first season of regular top-flight action.
"He handles himself with dignity on and off the field and I like watching him. He's a big character, he enjoys the camaraderie you have with your back four and the team - trying to lead," adds Howard.
"As you get older you grow into that and he has accepted that and taken it on. No matter how young you are as a goalkeeper, you have to have broad shoulders and you have to be a leader. He has grown into that, certainly during his time here at Everton and now at Norwich where it is his team and his shirt. He has done brilliantly."
Everton will have to get the better of Ruddy at Carrow Road if they are to maintain a fine run of form which has seen the Blues secure an impressive 22 points in the league the turn of the year.
Having faced a similar challenge at Swansea a few weeks ago, Howard is acutely aware of the task facing the Blues.
"Norwich have been a breath of fresh air. We played Swansea two weeks ago and they have been fun to watch and difficult to play against. Norwich are a bit of the same - they have come up into the Premier League, they have a belief in what they do and the system they use and Paul Lambert has really stuck to that.
"From what I hear, the players love him, he has done really well for that Club and obviously they have had some really good individual performances during the course of the year, which you need to have a really successful campaign."
There is no doubt that Howard has been one of the individual performers excelling for David Moyes this term.