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Test of faith in boyhood club as Cantwell considers Canaries deal

Todd Cantwell has been in contract talks with Norwich City since last summer Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Todd Cantwell has been in contract talks with Norwich City since last summer Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Having a Norfolk boy at the heart of a title success was ideal for Norwich City, it's not clear which stage of his personal journey Todd Cantwell is at just yet though.

The Canaries' promotion celebrations were enjoyed by academy product Todd Cantwell 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesThe Canaries' promotion celebrations were enjoyed by academy product Todd Cantwell Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Having a Norfolk boy at the heart of a title success was ideal for Norwich City, it's not clear which stage of his personal journey Todd Cantwell is at just yet though.

With sporting director Stuart Webber revealing that talks over a new contract have been on and off for the past year, the 21-year-old is yet to feel the financial benefits of his contemporaries.

'Little and often' has been the philosophy of City's chief since his arrival in 2017 and the evidence so far is that his strategy works well.

Jamal Lewis was soon offered a new deal that summer and come October 2018 the left-back was committing until 2021, after establishing himself as first choice for City and Northern Ireland. It was a similar story for Max Aarons and Ben Godfrey. Aarons signed a long-term deal last summer and then another just four months later after his breakthrough, while Godfrey signed fresh terms before joining Shrewsbury on loan in 2017, then extended his deal last summer after he had proved so successful in League One.

Conspicuous by his absence from all those deals was academy product Cantwell, a talented player who had been on the books with the Canaries since he was nine years old. The pride of Dereham got his senior career moving in the right direction with his own successful loan, scoring twice and claiming three assists from 10 games to help Fortuna Sittard secure promotion to the top flight in Holland.

That momentum mostly carried through to this season, earning his head coach's trust to make 27 appearances and show plenty of promise during a promotion campaign, scoring once and setting up two more.

Todd Cantwell played a key role during the first half of the season but faded as Norwich City chased promotion 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesTodd Cantwell played a key role during the first half of the season but faded as Norwich City chased promotion Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Opportunities were in shorter supply during the second half of the season, with two starts in the absence of the suspended Emi Buendia during April proving frustrating, having not started a game for three months.

Norwich City report card: Todd Cantwell, critics, contracts and class

Yet still, most City fans would be keen to see the youngster committed to a long-term deal and focused on trying to fulfil his creative potential.

The youngster will know that there may be fewer chances to shine in the Premier League though and will want reassurances that he will get the regular game time he needs.

With the one-year option in his contract activated, it leaves a delicate situation for Cantwell to navigate.

Does he back himself to shine and earn a lucrative new deal? Or does he tread carefully and see what the new season brings for him, with the potential for a loan in January in the background?

Either way City are covered as if his contract were to expire next summer, they would be due compensation if Cantwell left.

Ultimately it comes down to whether the youngster and his representatives trust Webber and Farke to continue his development - and both have shown plenty of willing on that front so far.

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