Local lad tag weighs heavy on Cantwell's shoulders

Todd Cantwell of Norwich celebrates scoring his sides 1st goal during the Sky Bet Championship match

Todd Cantwell has found the local lad tag difficult to deal with throughout his time at Norwich. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Todd Cantwell is living the dream of thousands of young people across Norfolk but the 22-year-old has discovered the 'local lad' tag has created high levels of expectation around his performance.

The Dereham-born creative midfielder has impressed for the Canaries both in the Premier League and during a hugely successful campaign in the Championship to date but did receive some stick during his debut season for the club. 

Other Norfolk based stars, such as the Murphy twins, also struggled with the weight of expectation placed on them by supporters due to their geography rather than ability. Eventually, that led to both exiting the club. 

Cantwell has been at Norwich since he was 10-years-old and feels that he has always been forced to showcase more than others at the club.

"It was a risk (going out on loan). I'm a local boy and I've only ever been at Norwich City. I've always had this in my heart and my head that because I'm a local boy, I have to do a bit more.

"I have to have something a little bit different. Something more than what's required. 

"There is a mentality, and I don't know if it's just at Norwich because I can only speak about my experiences, but it seems to me that if you're local then you have to be better than someone you could potentially sign. 

Most Read

"If you're a local lad and you do okay, then you're not doing very well. Whereas, if you're doing really well, then you're doing okay. That's how I feel. That might be completely biased but it's just through my experience. 

"If I was bought for £7.5m and came in, then I'd be the best thing since sliced bread. But I can be the exact same player, do the exact same things (and get viewed differently)."

The Canaries have a mantra inside the club that instructs its players to 'ignore the noise' and Cantwell has heeded that advice since breaking through to the first-team. 

The 22-year-old believes his loan spell with Dutch second division side Fortuna Sittard helped him prepare for the first-team stage at Norwich. 

"It's not from management. I would say that it's a feeling. It's not necessarily fans in general, it's just a feeling around this place," Cantwell told the All in Yellow podcast.

"That's what I was alluding to when I was speaking about going to Sittard, it's not 'what I should have done'. As a young, English player, I should have gone to League One but I wanted to go out and prove that I'm unique, different and good enough to contribute success to a football team. 

"I fell in love with the place. I came back hungry to do the same at Norwich."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus