‘I looked like a cheetah’ - Todd Cantwell talks bad hair days and establishing himself at Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
A bad day at the hairdresser’s can’t detract from what has been an impressive debut season for Todd Cantwell as he told the Talk Norwich City podcast
As he came through the academy at Norwich City there were two things that shone brightly for Todd Cantwell: his talent… and his hair.
Cantwell was always a conspicuous presence throughout the City age groups thanks to his long blonde locks and in an age where youngsters are constantly searching for a sense of identity it marked him out as something different, something to keep an eye on.
So it seemed strange midway through his breakthrough season at Carrow Road when he suddenly emerged with a shaven head.
Had he finally conformed? Had his hair made him too much of a marked man in the Championship?
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The truth is a lot simpler than that - it was purely down to a bad hairdressing experience.
"When I was growing up I didn't like the fact that everyone had the same haircut," he said. "My brother had long hair and I used to banter him about it and then I thought actually it looks pretty good.
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"I've got to be honest though the reason I cut it is because I tried to change the colour of my hair and it went wrong, let's just say.
"I had to cut it off because what came out couldn't come out. It went like the home shirt - it was yellow - it had to go. I looked like a cheetah."
No topic was off limits for Cantwell as he spoke candidly to the Talk Norwich City podcast about how he has established himself in the first team picture under head coach Daniel Farke.
Fans like nothing more than seeing one of their own living out their dream every week and Cantwell is the personification of this.
It didn't however make him immune from criticism towards the end of the campaign when he was drafted in to replace the suspended Emi Buendia against Reading.
The 21-year-old came in for a fair amount of stick from some sections and Cantwell admitted that some of it had taken him by surprise.
"I think if I had a bad game then I would expect people to tell me that I've had a bad game because I've been a fan and know how it works.
"Probably the bit I don't understand is when I didn't think I had a bad game and then I was getting stick.
"If I had a bad game then I would be the first to hold my hands up and say I played badly.
"It's more annoying when you don't agree with what's being said."
MORE: Paddy Davitt offers a full and frank apology to Norwich CityHe added: "I had to do a job (against Reading). It wasn't like I can go in and do whatever I want to do.
"There's a part of me that wants to do all the tricks and flicks but when it comes down to it you look at those draws now and they weren't bad points."
When the dust has settled on the 2018/19 season both Cantwell and fans can reflect on the youngster giving himself a good platform to progress his promising career in the Premier League limelight.
Twelve months ago Cantwell had just come back from an impressive loan spell helping Dutch club Fortuna Sittard gain promotion but he still didn't know where he stood in the Norwich pecking order.
Whilst Cantwell is technically out of contract this summer the club will take up a 12-month option on the playmaker and it is clear that Farke rates the Dereham youngster.
"I felt like pre-season was the best I'd had and I was gutted not to be playing in the first game of the season," he said.
"It was then the realisation this is a really big football club. I knew then I hadn't done enough so that I needed to show more and pray that I got my chance.
"I'm patient but there was a time when I thought I really needed to know where I stand.
"I'm not the type of guy to knock on the manager's door. I had a very honest chat before I decided what was going on. He made it very clear he didn't want me to go out on loan."
Farke of course hasn't been afraid to put his trust in youth… or the Norwich City 'boyband' as Cantwell, Jamal Lewis, Ben Godfrey and Max Aarons have become known.
But Cantwell was keen to pay tribute to some of the more experienced players who have helped the youngsters settle and thrive this season.
"Timm Klose has been really good. He has always been very quick to tell me that I'm good enough. Ivo Pinto as well, not just for me, he has been brilliant to Max as well.
"I don't think that's normal at a lot of clubs but it is for us."
Watch the full Talk Norwich City podcast here