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The Canaries goalkeeper is backing his under-fire teammate to overcome his recent struggles in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers and insists he should be retained in goal

Norwich’s John Ruddy believes Joe Hart remains England’s No.1 despite a series of blunders which have cast doubts on his starting place.

Hart has made a series of mistakes in recent months and pressure is mounting as to whether he should be dropped ahead of England’s crucial World Cup qualifiers at Wembley against Montenegro and Poland.

But despite potentially standing to gain if the City man is dropped, Ruddy has offered his support to his rival.

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“Joe’s the England number one. Rightly so,” he told reporters.

“The way he’s performed over the last few years, he’s deserved it and he’s never let England down. He’s a top-drawer goalkeeper, one of the best in the world without a shadow of a doubt.

“Without being too patronising, I felt sorry for him. I’ve been in situations before when people are questioning you. It’s never nice.”

Ruddy insists goalkeepers have to be resilient because their performances are put under the microscope and any mistakes instantly highlighted.

“We’re a strange bunch, but you have to be,” he added. “It’s such an isolated area you have to be a little bit.

“Nine times out of ten when a keeper makes a mistake, the ball goes in the back of the net.

“It’s a tough world but every keeper, I think, is mentally strong enough to deal with that, otherwise they wouldn’t be at the top level.

“The self-confidence and self-belief that you have as an individual, has to be right up there. I know I’ve got the right people around me and I know Joe has probably got the right people around him as well.”

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