Nigel Martyn says John Ruddy's hard work and dedication has earned him a place in England's Euro 2012 squad.
The 25-year-old Norwich goalkeeper is one of two uncapped players named in Roy Hodgson's 23-man party to travel to Poland and the Ukraine this summer.
Martyn watched Ruddy come through the ranks at Everton and he spent many spells on loan at lower league clubs such as Walsall, Stockport County and Crewe before securing a move to Norwich in 2010.
He has played in all but one of Norwich's Premier League games this season, as they achieved an impressive 12th-placed finish, and Martyn says he's worthy of his England call-up.
"I'm pleasantly surprised," he told Sky Sports News.
"He's had a very good first season in the Premier League with Norwich. The team has done really well and he's been part of that. He's got his reward from doing that this season.
"He's a big goalie and he's worked tremendously hard on his footwork and his agility and that's enabled him to make it to the very top.
"Like England managers have done in the past, Roy has decided to take a young goalkeeper along for the experience.
"As a young lad he was with myself at Everton and you could see there he had the physique and the ability to go to the very top, but he had to make sure he completed that.
"Through his dedication and hard work he's got there and he's fully deserving of his place."
Martyn made 23 appearances for England between 1992 and 2002 and says Ruddy will have much to learn ahead of the European Championships.
But he backed the Norwich man to rise to the occasion if he is called upon.
"Concentration is key," Martyn added.
"In international football you can have long spells of not doing very much at all other than rolling the ball out to your centre-half or just kicking the ball.
"His footwork and kicking will have to be good if he's needed, as will his concentration levels. It will be tougher for him and it won't be something he's come across before.
"He'll handle it if he's given the opportunity and I'm sure he'll make the save if he needs to."
Ruddy is likely to be the third-choice goalkeeper behind Joe Hart and Rob Green at this summer's tournament.
And Martyn is backing Hart to establish himself as England number one for many years to come, whilst also backing Green as a useful understudy.
"Rob's got big experience of playing in the Premier League and playing for England," he said.
"He went to the last World Cup as the number one and didn't have the tournament he would have wanted, so maybe this is an opportunity.
"He's forced his way back into the squad, good on him for that, and he's had another solid season with West Ham, so he deserves to be there. If anything happens to Joe Hart he will be there and won't let us down.
"Hart has amazed me with his level of consistency this season and last season. For such a young goalkeeper you would expect more mistakes than he has made.
"That goes to show what an excellent goalkeeper he is and he's one that could threaten Peter Shilton's record."