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My Best XI: Declan Rudd

21 January 2014

PNE goalkeeper Declan Rudd has played among the world’s elite in the Premier League, so it’s no surprise his team includes so many household names.

Dec has selected a 3-4-3 formation and picked numerous stars from the top flight and international set-up.

When he first came into Norwich, you could see his natural ability and that he was going to be a good ‘keeper. He’s pushed on and he deserves to be in the England set-up because of his ability, form and how well he’s been playing.

One of the most powerful players I’ve played with. He’s so quick and strong on the ball and good going forward and good at defending as well. He’s got a lot of attributes that have taken him to play for England.

Big, strong, quick, good with the ball at his feet and still only 21. He’s got his move to Cardiff so hopefully he can get some match experience there and he’s a brilliant defender.

I played with him when we were 19 in the European Championships and he came into the team and played centre back. Every time he got the ball, he ran up the pitch with it and created a chance. On the ball he’s brilliant. His desire is brilliant too.

Played with him from the age of 15 up until the age of 19 or 20. Unbelievable talent, probably one of the best players I’ve ever played with. He’s so comfortable on the ball and so intelligent. You can see, if it wasn’t for his injuries he’d be one of the top players in the world already.

He’s just got a move to another Premier League team where he’s starting games. His passing range is one of the best; he can just put the ball where he wants it. He plays a bit like Steven Gerrard. He tackles and puts himself about and also likes to shoot as well.

I’ve been with him at Norwich for about six years and, in my eyes, he’s probably always been one of the best players that’s been there. He gets overlooked quite easily because he doesn’t score many goals but when you watch him week-in, week-out he’s so creative and skilful.

I didn’t know much about him until this summer when he came with the U21s, but he came into the team and he was the best player in the Championships. Every time he got it, it looked like he was going to create something; defenders look scared because of his pace and skill.

The goals he scored at Norwich were phenomenal. I think, in his first two seasons, he scored a total of around 60 goals in League One and the Championship. Then he did it again in the Premier League, he scored 15 or something like that. He’s just always in the right place at the right time.

I was lucky enough to catch him in his last ever season as a player. I was on the bench for the first time on his last ever game. He helped me massively, he’s such a nice person off the pitch and on the pitch, you can see what he’s done from his career. He wins everything, scores goals, he’s a leader.

His work-rate and off-the-ball stuff that you don’t really see is brilliant. He kicked on and went to Sunderland and now he’s playing week-in, week-out for Manchester United. He’s probably England’s first striker on the teamsheet and he’s started to add goals to his game.

Extended Profiles
Nathan Redmond
Date of birth: 06/03/1994
Position: Midfielder/Forward
Current club: Norwich City
Professional appearances: 86
Nationality: English
U21 Caps: 6

Norwich attacker Nathan Redmond began his career with Birmingham City as a trainee. Born and bred in the Midlands, the 5ft 8” midfielder made his debut for the Blues against Rochdale in the Capital One Cup, as Birmingham secured a nervy 3-2 victory at St Andrews.

He followed that up with two further appearances in 2010/11, but it was the following season in which he really established himself in the side.

In his sophomore campaign, Redmond made an impressive 37 appearances for Birmingham, scoring a total of seven goals – including one crucial equaliser away at Brighton & Hove Albion.

Last season was less successful for the midfielder in front of goal, as he managed a disappointing total of two for Birmingham in 45 appearances.

However, his flair and creativity was there for all to see, prompting the then England U21 manager Stuart Pearce to call-up Redmond for the 2013 U21 European Championships.

The midfielder was a shining light in a dismal campaign for the Three Lions and, just a month after the tournament, he was snapped up by Premier League side Norwich City.

Already this season, Redmond has scored a winning goal for the Canaries – sending a wonderfully hit 25-yard strike beyond Artur Boruc to earn Norwich three points against Southampton.

Steven Caulker
Date of birth: 29/12/1991
Position: Defender
Current club: Cardiff City
Professional appearances: 134
Nationality: English
Caps: 1

Steven Caulker came through the ranks at Tottenham Hotspur before moving to Cardiff City for £8m in July 2013.

The towering defender was often sent out on loan early in his Spurs career, and enjoyed spells at the likes of Yeovil Town, Bristol City and Swansea.

He spent a year at Huish Park in his first temporary deal, making 46 appearances for the Glovers and establishing himself as a key player for the club.

The next season, Caulker spent time at Ashton Gate, and was a cut-above in the Championship – playing 30 games for the Robins and barely putting a foot wrong.

The following season saw his receive Premier League interest before the centre back was eventually loaned out to Michael Laurdrup’s Swansea.

During his time in Wales, the 6ft 3” defender was also making strides on the international scene – appearing frequently for England’s U21 side.

His impressive performances at the Liberty Stadium prompted Andre Villas-Boas to try out the defender in the Tottenham side the following season.

His no nonsense style of play soon caught the eye of newly promoted Welsh side Cardiff, where Caulker was presented as one of the club’s marquee signings in July 2013.

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