John Ruddy pulls out of England Euro 2012 squad through injury



By Adam Higgins
Chief Football Editor



Former Everton goalkeeper Ruddy (pictured) is yet to make his international debut for the Three Lions and is due to be married next week


England have been forced into a squad alteration after it emerged that goalkeeper John Ruddy has broken a finger in training ruling him out of Euro 2012.

The 25-year old Norwich City man was making his first appearance in the national squad after being named among the 23-man party to travel to Poland and Ukraine for the European Championship finals by new Three Lions manager Roy Hodgson.

Manchester City's Joe Hart is England's first-choice keeper with West Ham United's Robert Green his deputy. Ruddy's withdrawal from the squad means a call up for Birmingham City's 19-year-old shot-stopper Jack Butland as his replacement albeit he will be third choice in the pecking order. He was previously on the standby list and will join up with the squad next week ahead of the final warm-up game against Belgium in a friendly at Wembley on 2nd June.

Butland has yet to make a senior appearance for Birmingham however he made 24 appearances for League Two side Cheltenham Town during a loan spell this season in which he kept 11 clean sheets helping them into the play-offs.

Cheltenham goalkeeping coach Steve Book paid testimony to Butland's abilities saying: "Since he came to us nothing seems to fluster him. He's a freak of nature. He's 19 and he's ticking all the right boxes. He's calm and collected and knows what he can do - in fact, there isn't a lot he can't do. He's going to be a very good goalkeeper. He's got all the right tools to be a top-class goalkeeper and I think Birmingham recognised that when he was 15. He's physically right, but whether he needs a bit more experience between the sticks, playing in big games remains to be seen."

A statement on the FA website revealed that Ruddy will travel with the squad to Norway on Friday and watch the friendly in Oslo on Saturday, but return to his club upon arrival back in England. The former Motherwell and Everton keeper is due to get married to his fiancee on the same day that England play their second warm-up game against Belgium at Wembley.

His injury caps a disappointing end to what has been an impressive first season in the Premier League in which he helped Norwich City to a 12th-place finish although he only kept four clean sheets in his 37 appearances. He started his career with Cambridge and moved to Everton aged 18, but spent most of his five years at Goodison Park on loan before joining the Canaries on a permanent basis in July 2010 achieving promotion from the Championship in his first campaign at Carrow Road.

England also have injury concerns over defender Glen Johnson and striker Danny Welbeck ahead of the match in Oslo. Liverpool full-back Johnson limped out of Thursday's training session in Manchester with the 27-year old appearing to have an infected toe, while Manchester United's Welbeck trained on his own but left the session early.  

Click here to watch England's standby goalkeeper Jack Butland in action

Click here to listen to England boss Roy Hodgson's bemoaning of Ruddy's injury luck


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