Town's pride as Declan makes City debut

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?'Playing in the Premiership' was the confident response from promising goalkeeper Declan Rudd in Diss High School's year book of 2007.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

'Playing in the Premiership' was the confident response from promising goalkeeper Declan Rudd in Diss High School's year book of 2007.

Two years later, the teenager, whose school shirt was covered with good luck messages on leavers' day, made a significant step towards his dream by pulling on the No13 jersey for his home debut for the Norwich City first team.

His former teachers spoke of their pride yesterday after the footballer from Diss made his first league start and kept a clean sheet in front of a crowd of 23,000 at Carrow Road on Tuesday night.

Norwich City fans will be hoping that the 18-year-old can fulfil his 2017 prophecy of playing between the sticks in the Premiership for his home club after being discovered during a youth game at Bressingham when he was eight.

Rudd was the talk of his former school yesterday with staff hoping that the rising Norfolk sports star can follow in the footsteps of ex-Diss High School student and England and West Ham defender Matthew Upson.

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The Canaries' latest academy product to make the first team was spotted by youth recruitment officer Colin Watts whilst playing as a striker for Bressingham youth team.

His full first team debut comes a year after turning professional and two months after signing a new three-year contract with the League One side.

Mike Copperwheat, his former head of year at Diss High School, said he could tell that Rudd was destined for greatness when he left to pursue a full-time career in football following the completion of his GCSEs in 2007.

'He was very competitive and a very competent sports person and always played for the football team in and out of goal and for the school cricket team. He never let anyone down and was very focused and was always playing football at lunchtimes.'

'There were some very good sports people in his year group, but he was always committed to Norwich and was always destined to do well,' he said.

Rudd was still studying for his GCSEs at Diss when he became the first Norwich City player to kick a ball in anger at the new Wembley stadium in April 2007 for England under 16s. He was also in the national squad for the European under 19 championships in Ukraine earlier this year.

Mr Copperwheat added: 'We are very proud of the fact that he has made it at Norwich City and represented England at under 16 to under 19 level and we hope he becomes a regular in the England sides at higher levels.'

'He had commitments to the Norwich City academy, but always kept up with school work and got creditable GCSE results.'