'His numbers are good' - England U21s boss explains Cantwell call-up
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England Under-21 boss Aidy Boothroyd has explained why he turned to Todd Cantwell as the replacement for injured Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood, describing the Norwich City star as "a very good player".
Max Aarons and Oliver Skipp were named in the Young Lions' squad ahead of the European U21 Championship group stages but Cantwell was initially only on standby.
Greenwood has scored five goals in 39 games for United this season and also earned his first senior cap in September. When the 19-year-old talent picked up an injury it was Norfolk-born Cantwell taking his place on the flight to Slovenia on Tuesday.
"When we got news about Mason, it was right that we had planned all along for these situations when players get injured, unfortunately it's part and parcel of international management," explained Boothroyd.
"So we were delighted with Todd, he's been in the system before, he's having a great season at Norwich, his numbers are good.
"He's just a very, very good player and probably unlucky to miss out in the first place really."
England start their group campaign against Switzerland on Thursday (2pm UK time) before facing Portugal on Sunday and Croatia on Wednesday - aiming to qualify for the knockout stages, which are scheduled to begin in late May.
"I think the tournament comes at a time that helps us, the players are in a rhythm," former Canaries academy coach Boothroyd said ahead of the clash with the Swiss in Koper.
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"When I go through all of the squad the vast majority are playing for their teams, which really helps me.
"When they come in they are in their rhythm and we don't have to worry too much about them. It's guy in the past that maybe haven't had the minutes, that it's difficult to get them to the same levels as the boys that have been playing."
Cantwell, Aarons and Skipp all fall into that category, having played crucial roles in City's promotion push in the Championship.
Players including Everton duo Ben Godfrey and Tom Davies, Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale and Burnley winger Dwight McNeil have all been regulars in the Premier League, so Boothroyd hopes the group stages being held during the club season will be of benefit to the Young Lions.
"I think it will help us," the former Watford boss added. "We've got to get through April first and then hopefully get to the knockout stages, which we've reached before and we know how exciting it can be to get there, so we'll be pushing to do that."
- All of the England U21s' games are being shown live on Sky Sports
- Click here for the full schedule of City players potentially in international action