VIDEO: Canaries midfielder discusses his contract, trying to make Hoolahan proud and Premier League prospects
PUBLISHED: 13:08 18 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:58 10 February 2020
Todd Cantwell knows there is no replacing Wes Hoolahan but is focused on trying to create more special memories in the Norwich City number 14 shirt.
The Canaries academy product signed a new contract recently, committing to the club until 2022, and took on the squad number made famous by Hoolahan during the 10 years before his 2018 exit.
"Wes was an unbelievable player and growing up I was always watching him and admiring him, the things he could do and what a magician he was," Cantwell explained.
"I let it go last year to let the number rest but I want to step up, to secure a good squad number and to show that this is about me and showing what I can do.
"Wes is a legend, he will always be a legend, nothing can change that, it's about me."
Of course a squad number has no bearing on what happens on the pitch anyway but as a Norfolk lad who watched Hoolahan's best times, having been with the club since he was 11, Cantwell relished his brief time training and playing with the Irishman.
"He was brilliant, brilliant for me personally," the 21-year-old added. "I think he could pick up pretty quickly that I like to do the sort of things that he likes to do, have a bit of flair and be tricky.
"He really helped me to get that step in maturity and when to do flicks and tricks and when to keep it more simple and play more mature. So he was brilliant for me."
Cantwell made 24 appearances as the Canaries won the Championship title last season but the one-year option in his contract initially had to be activated as negotiations rumbled on, but a deal was finally struck at the start of this month.
"I'm over the moon to be fair, getting the contract sorted was a big relief, just to look forward to the games and the upcoming season," the Dereham youngster continued.
"So it's nice to get that over the line and it's nice to be back in Germany and to get some good training done."
Cantwell shook off a calf worry to play the second half of a 4-1 friendly win over German fourth-tier side SC Bonner behind closed doors on Tuesday and added: "I really enjoyed it, during the off-season it's nice to have time off but it's nice to get back in to it, to have a game, I really enjoyed it."