Farke on Cantwell Chelsea absence
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Daniel Farke has explained why Todd Cantwell is not in his plans for Norwich City’s Premier League trip to Chelsea.
Cantwell is available for selection but will again miss out after being a notable absentee from the matchday squad for the recent draw against Brighton.
The attacking midfielder is part of the Premier League Two development squad who play Birmingham City at King's Lynn's The Walks stadium on Friday evening.
Farke reiterated at Colney on Friday lunchtime he wants more from Cantwell on the training pitch, after a spell away for personal reasons and some Achilles and ankle issues.
Here is the full transcript of what the City head coach had to say on the attacking midfielder’s continued omission for this weekend’s trip to the Champions League holders.
“Not a topic for Chelsea. Generally speaking, for these type of creative players it is more difficult to shine with appearances on this level. Let’s be honest we had two creative types, more like number 10s in wider areas last season.
"Todd with Emi Buendia or Kieran Dowell. Right now, we play on a different level. The Premier League is a different animal.
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“Last season we could dominate a game with 70pc or 80pc possession. So you need many, many creative players on the pitch to open deep-lying opponents.
"Maybe now we need players in those areas who are strong without the ball, or for physical players who have pace and are a bit more direct.
“Look at the big teams in those wider areas and they have players with physical power and pace. The same with Watford and Brentford who were promoted with us. That is one fact.
“The second fact why Todd is not a topic for this game is there is a different for being available and being fully ready for this intense battle.
“You have to be super fit, in super shape and to be prepared mentally and physically. You cannot afford to show up in a Premier League game at 98pc. You could argue the best player in the world, maybe (Cristiano) Ronaldo, could do this.
"When you speak to people who have worked with him they will tell you he is the hardest worker in the squad. First in, last out at training. Looked after himself and his body. Unbelievably prepared.
“Or (Romelu) Lukaku, and how he made that final step to be a £100m striker. He is a real athlete, working so hard for his team and at training.
“Sadly I have to say with Todd the last couple of months I can’t remember one full training week when he was available for the full week. He has missed too many sessions for personal reasons, or problems with his Achilles and ankle.
"After (last) Friday he reported some problems with his Achilles and was not able to train on Saturday morning (before Brighton) as we planned. He just had some treatment instead.
“He has to make sure he is working so hard to find his fitness level. You cannot afford to be out for two or three weeks, train a day or two and then be available to shine on this level. It is not possible.
"The next task is a process for him.
"You can’t press a button. Maybe two weeks of full training with no setbacks, to bring that quality and consistency and fight your way back.
“We don’t have to discuss his potential or how much I like this player or how he can bring our game on a top level when he is in his best shape.
“We speak a lot. Especially with the younger players. Sometimes they need an arm around the shoulder. Sometimes it is tougher love. Younger players have to learn and experience these things. But Todd is not 18 anymore. It is not difficult.
"The rules are clear for each player. You have to be physically and mentally prepared and show consistency in training and be available. The standards and the levels are the same for every player.
“If it is Todd Cantwell, if it is Tim Krul, Grant Hanley or Teemu Pukki. The standards and the levels have to be the same.
“Take Sam Byram, he has just had his first full training week after 18 months out. He is buzzing but I can’t predict when he is a topic for the first team because now he has to show that consistency.
"Thankfully Todd was not out that long but for any player who was out for a period of time they need to work on their fitness and sharpness.
“When you get the feeling they are ready for the intense battles, and fighting against relegation for a newly promoted team who has to be at 100pc every game, then we will use them.
"You can only be mentally fully prepared at this level if you are physically fully ready and that comes from knowing you have trained all week at top intensity. We can’t change how the last months have developed but he has a huge task now ahead.”