‘I’m an easy target as a local lad’ - Cantwell reveals mental struggle after online abuse
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Todd Cantwell has spoken of his mental struggle following the intense criticism he received on social media last season.
The 21-year-old academy product has been a revelation for the Canaries in the Premier League after a quiet debut season with City in the Championship.
Following Emi Buendia's dismissal during a 4-0 win over QPR in April, Cantwell was thrust into the starting XI for City's game away at Wigan Athletic.
He started, and was substituted, in a 1-1 draw and came in for some unfair criticism for his display in an experience he still struggles to understand.
"That was a tough time and I really didn't take it well. It made me genuinely not want to be involved," he says.
You may also want to watch:
"I went out there and produced what I thought was a good performance but came off the pitch after the game and received all the stick for everything that went on.
"It was my first experience of being on the other end. I couldn't get away from it. It was coming straight at me.
- 1 City lodge complaint to EFL over match officials conduct during Luton Town defeat
- 2 Paddy's Pointers: Luton Town 3 Canaries 1
- 3 Norwich City able to access £8.33m loan after Premier League agree EFL bailout
- 4 Paddy Davitt: City player ratings against Luton Town
- 5 What do the new Brexit rules mean for Norwich City?
- 6 Bullish Farke unhappy at defending and key calls in Luton defeat
- 7 Iwan Roberts: I've never seen an injury crisis like Norwich City's before
- 8 'A perfect storm' - Fans have their say as injuries finally take their toll on Canaries
- 9 Luton 3-1 City: Tired Canaries come up well short
- 10 Skipp calls for City to be smarter after Luton defeat
"My mum [Jackie] would call me and say: 'I don't get why people are saying this, and this.' I'm definitely an easy target as the local lad."
Cantwell's candid admission underlines how social media can have an affect on the performance of footballers, with criticism from fans believed to have played a major factor in the Murphy twins' decisions to leave Norfolk.
The Dereham-born midfielder is hoping to channel that negative experience to help improve his resilience as his career continues to progress.
"In a weird way, I'm thankful for it. Maybe if I didn't have that then, I wouldn't be as strong as I am now.," Cantwell told the Telegraph.
"Maybe I wouldn't be able to perform and ignore everything, because now it's obviously a much bigger stage."
Cantwell has been a major protagonist of City's offensive output this season, scoring six times in 25 appearances.
The England U21 international is behind only Teemu Pukki in the club's goal-scoring charts.
His last goal arrived on New Year's Day against Crystal Palace and the creative midfielder will be hoping to add to his tally as the Canaries face champions-elect Liverpool on Saturday night (5.30pm).