I can’t babysit my players anymore, insists Neil

Date published: Friday 18th December 2015 2:12 - James Marshment

John Ruddy: Has lost his place in the side

Norwich manager Alex Neil stressed he cannot be expected to “babysit” the players as an internal club investigation continues into a late-night city centre scuffle involving goalkeeper John Ruddy.

Mobile phone footage has emerged of 29-year-old Ruddy needing to be restrained during a heated exchange at a taxi rank in the early hours of last Sunday morning.

Ruddy, capped by England in August 2012, had recently lost his place in the starting XI to 24-year-old Declan Rudd, and watched from the bench as Norwich drew 1-1 with Everton last weekend.

Norfolk Police have not received any complaints from the public regarding the incident, and the club are trying to establish the full circumstances before deciding on what action, if any, to take.

As such, Neil will continue to have the player available for selection ahead of Saturday’s trip to Manchester United until told otherwise.

“John Ruddy at the moment is under an internal investigation from the club as to what happened, and that is basically as much as I can say on that until that is concluded,” the Norwich manager said at a press conference.

“John has not been found guilty or not guilty at this present moment in time.

“There is an investigation going on and John will be a normal member of the squad, that doesn’t have any effect at the moment.”

On the possibility of any disciplinary action, Neil said: “We will have to wait to see what the investigation brings. There is no time frame on it at the moment but hopefully (it will be concluded) as quickly as we can.”

The Norwich manager, however, stressed players must take responsibility for their own actions.

He added in an interview with BBC Radio Norfolk: “You are in the public eye, so you have got to try to be on your best behaviour at all times and you represent the club wherever you are.

“Their actions will have direct consequences to what happens to them.

“I can’t go and babysit them, the responsibility falls upon them.”

Manchester United lost at Bournemouth last weekend, with the result prompting further debate over the future direction of the side under Louis van Gaal as their winless run extended to five matches.

Neil, however, is in no doubt of the challenge facing his team when they run out at Old Trafford.

“They have not lost a league game at home all season and have only conceded one goal at home, so it is not all doom and gloom,” the Canaries boss said.

“They are hard to break down, well organised and have good players, so it will be a tough game.

“However if we can try to put together the performance we did in the second half against Everton and also against Manchester City and Liverpool away from home, then there is no reason why we can’t take something from the game.”

Norwich head to Tottenham on Boxing Day and then on December 28 play struggling Aston Villa, who are currently bottom.

Neil accepts his out-of-form team need to start getting results sooner rather than later if they are to avoid becoming entrenched in the relegation zone, having dropped there on goal difference.

“The fact we have not got as many points as we would like is a worry,” he said.

“However, performance-wise we have been competitive in most games, and if that continues, then results will follow.”

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