In the second of my series of looking at four of Norwich City’s young prospects for next season, I’m taking a look at Todd Cantwell and considering whether he’s finally ready to make the first team squad.
Todd is a son of Norfolk and was born in Dereham, joining the Norwich City Academy aged just 10 years old.
He’s a midfielder by trade but usually plays as a “number 10” in the hole just behind the lone striker, so beloved of coaches in modern day football.
He represented England at U17 level and was an unused substitute in the Championship twice last October before finally making his first-team debut in the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea.
Despite City losing that game on penalties, it was some way to make your debut for your boyhood club.
Having been knocking on the door of the first team, it was decided that Todd could benefit from a spell out on loan and he took a huge step for a 20-year-old lad by not only going out on loan but by doing that in another country too.
Todd was loaned to Dutch second-tier side, Fortuna Sittard at the end of January and made 10 appearances and scored 2 goals in a spell that was interrupted by an injury that saw him return to Norfolk midway through his loan, before returning to Holland after treatment.
Fortuna won promotion back to the Eredivisie after a sixteen-year absence with Cantwell providing the assist from a free kick that was headed home for the promotion-clinching goal.
— Todd Cantwell (@ToddCantwell_10) May 1, 2018
He won a lot of fans in Holland and the experience will have done him a world of good but is he ready to kick on at Norwich now?
The loss of Alex Pritchard and Wes Hoolahan from Daniel Farke’s squad mean that from having a dearth of number 10’s, Norwich now only have one, James Maddison and let’s be honest, Madders is probably on his way this summer.
That will mean that City will have a vacancy for an attacking midfielder, even if by some miracle Maddison stays, because surely you’d need two, wouldn’t you?
Kenny McLean has joined the club and he can play as a number 10. His versatility will be useful, as will that of Mario Vrancic, who can also play behind a striker but from what I’ve seen and understand, they aren’t specialists there.
I would like to see City go all out to try to sign Moritz Leitner as well, and he could certainly be seen as a replacement for Maddison, assuming we lose him.
However, it seems to me that there is an opportunity for Todd to stake a claim for a place in the squad this summer and in Farke, we at least have a coach who will give youth every opportunity, if they are good enough.
Todd has certainly been hitting the gym in an effort to build himself up for the rigours of Championship football and if he’s strong enough, I reckon he’ll be given every chance to play.