Local lad Cantwell signs long-term contract with City after promotion success
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Academy product Todd Cantwell has finally joined Norwich City’s other young stars in committing to a long-term contract, as he prepares to try and impress in the Premier League.
The 21-year-old made the breakthrough at City with 27 appearances during last season's Championship title triumph, earning the trust of head coach Daniel Farke following a loan in Holland with Fortuna Sittard the previous season.
He has signed a deal until 2022 and with City's new squad numbers revealed earlier today it's now known he will be wearing number 14 - which was left vacant last season after the departure of long-serving star Wes Hoolahan.
"It's brilliant and nice to have got it done and out of the way. I can really kick on now and show what I'm about," said Cantwell.
"I'm hoping to secure my place in the starting XI this season, there are a lot of good players here and healthy competition but I need to believe in what I can do and bring to the team.
"I'm really looking forward to showing not only the fans and the team but also show the Premier League what I can do.
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"It's a big league to play in and I've always wanted to play in it as a kid so I'm not going to hold back on that front."
Cantwell is from Dereham and has been on the books with the Canaries since he was 10 years, representing England at under-17 level and being linked with Arsenal at a young age.
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The former Northgate High School pupil signed his first professional contract at 18 and made his senior debut in January 2018, coming on during a televised FA Cup third round replay at Chelsea.
His loan to Sittard quickly followed and the creative midfielder scored two goals and assisted three more during 10 games in the Dutch second tier, helping Fortuna to earn promotion.
That was enough to force his way in to Farke's plans at Norwich during pre-season last year, with sporting director Stuart Webber revealing recently that contract talks have been ongoing since that point.
Cantwell set up Teemu Pukki during a 2-1 win at Reading on his league debut last September and enjoyed a run of 16 starts in 20 games, featuring a starring role in a 3-1 home win over Rotherham, scoring one and crossing for fellow academy product Max Aarons to score another.
He was on the fringes during the second half of the campaign though, featuring in eight of the 21 games which followed the turn of the year, with Emi Buendia and Onel Hernandez locking down the wide roles and Marco Stiepermann, Mario Vrancic, Kenny McLean and Tom Trybull also in fine form in the midfield mix.
With his career development at a delicate stage it was left to the Canaries to activate the one-year option in Cantwell's contract ahead of the new season but talks have now proved successful and the youngster can focus on trying to impress during pre-season.
Speaking to City's website, Cantwell continued: "I'm buzzing to be back, we left last season with such a buzz around the place and everyone has come back with the same mentality.
"I'm really looking forward to getting started. Ben [Godfrey] and Jamal [Lewis] were out in Dubai at the same time as me so it was nice to bump into them.
"I think you spend the whole season with each other and although we all get on and are so close, it's nice to have a break with family, friends and separate football from the personal life."
It's the seventh new contract to be announced by the Canaries since the end of last season, following on from centre-back Ben Godfrey signing until 2023 last week, with the option for a further year.
Cuban winger Onel Hernandez also committed until 2023 and fellow promotion winners Timm Klose, Marco Stiepermann, Tim Krul and Kenny McLean all signed up until 2022.