‘I didn’t want to be a clone’ - City midfielder’s advice to aspiring footballers

Academy graduate Todd Cantwell has featured regularly for Norwich City this season Picture: Paul Che

Academy graduate Todd Cantwell has featured regularly for Norwich City this season Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Todd Cantwell has advised Norfolk youngsters to “always be true to yourself” if they want to follow in his footsteps as a local lad playing for Norwich City in the Premier League.

The England Under-21 international, from Dereham, has previously spoken about his parents resisting chances for him to joins City’s academy until his under-11 age group and has passed on more advice from his experiences.

“Always be true to yourself,” Cantwell explained. “Through personal experience of going through the academy, which I can reflect on now, a lot of people want to make you a player and to have the responsibility of ‘this is what you do now’.

“And if there was one thing - and I’ve got my dad to thank for this - that I was really strict on, is I will always do what I believe in on the pitch, no matter how much trouble I would get in for it.

“Obviously I wouldn’t be stupid and doing flicks for the sake of it, I would listen, because I wouldn’t have got to where I have, but I was true to myself in that sense. I didn’t want to be a clone, I didn’t want to be like everyone else and just be a standard player, I wanted to do what I felt was right.”

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The 22-year-old had scored six goals in 29 top-flight games prior to this season being suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, having kick-started his career with a successful loan at Fortuna Sittard in the Dutch second tier in 2018.

Speaking to The Movement Coach on Instagram, he continued his advice, saying: “Believe in yourself is the first one, patience is definitely the second one, which I lacked a little bit. When I started to get around the first team I started to get impatient and frustrated. It’s not an easy thing to get into, you’ve got a lot of barriers to jump before you get to that level.

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“The third one is what everyone says, you have to work hard. Football is a game which is adored all over the world, not just this country, and nowadays with the money and the facilities that clubs have, you can get someone from anywhere now.”

Cantwell admits they are lessons he has learned with the benefit of hindsight though, adding: “Not even saying that was me, but that’s what I’ve learned now to be me. You pick things up as you go through it and they’re the biggest things I’ve picked up on.”

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