The last time Norwich City were in the Premier League, a 21-year-old Todd Cantwell was at the brim of emergence as a great wide midfielder in the league. After giving some great performances in a campaign where they were relegated, Cantwell was tipped with a move away from Carrow Road.
A potential move remained only on the cards and did not happen in real and the English midfielder was back in the EFL Championship again in the 2020-21 season. Alongside, his attacking partners Teemu Pukki and Emi Buendia, he displayed some great performances again as Norwich were crowned champions in the second division.
With the departure of Emi Buendia to Aston Villa and the Canaries back in the top flight, Daniel Farke and co. were certainly convinced that this might be the season where Cantwell fulfils his potential and becomes the attacking focal point for the yellow brigade.
The plan has not gone accordingly so far, Norwich are at the bottom of the league still finding a way to win their first win and at the time of writing have been thumped by Chelsea 7-0 in their last match.
Even in such a disgraceful season, Todd Cantwell has turned into a forgotten man among the ranks of Farke’s men after a few underwhelming performances.
We look at his stats from this season in the Premier League.
The attacking midfielder has only had three starts this season, in the first three games. Since then he has been dropped and never made a way back into the first team registering only two substitute appearances. With the signing of Milot Rashica on the left-wing, Cantwell had to leave his preferred position on the left to play as a right winger in a 4-3-3 formation. Away from his comfort zone which is wide on the left in midfield, the Englishman have had problems in adjusting to the new role. He had spent the majority of his time on the pitch trying to help out the defence to get the ball away from the danger zone let alone the fact that he has not been at his best. The red areas on the above image show that his time has gone mostly acting as a defensive cover rather than creating attacks which is his main job. He has drifted time and again from right to left, but has failed to enter the penalty area when Norwich had the chance. He has covered a lot of area from one corner flag to the other still has not managed to position himself in the dangerous areas quite often in the final third as Farke would have wanted.
In the five appearances, Cantwell has played a total of 114 passes averaging 50 touches per 90 with 33 passes. Even with the lesser amount of time on the pitch and ball he has been pretty efficient and clinical with a passing accuracy of 85%. Most of the passes have been on the right flank, trying to progress the ball forward the majority of the time he has got the chance. However, he has lacked a cutting edge while trying to play threatening balls into the box. This has been one of the biggest reasons behind him losing his starting berth. Cantwell is a creative midfielder who is adept at finding his teammates in space with defence-splitting balls or takes on two-three players to tee off another player to score. He has failed to do any of this, registering zero assists. Daniel Farke’ decision to bench him for a more defensively solid player is very much understandable but that has backfired too.
There is no doubt in the fact that the youngster has been poor. He has ranked only 30th percentile in accurate passes per 90 while 32nd percentile in accurate balls into the final third. His forward passes metric has been way lower than the league median while he has not been a goal threat either with very few progressive runs. A lot of it has to do with Norwich’ inability to play out from the back comfortably and retain possession but individually he has been no brilliant compared to players like Emile Smith-Rowe during times when Arsenal was struggling too. He has ranked 71st percentile in through passes per 90 which has been the highlight in the whole progression area but they have been unsuccessful too.
To get over their over-reliance on Teemu Pukki to score goals, other players need to chip in with goals. Farke had the same hopes from Todd Cantwell after two impressive seasons in front of the box but the youngster has failed to keep up on that as well. Two shots in five starts is just poorer than what poor gets. He has failed to get himself into great positions to take shots, has not had a single shot inside the box and failed to keep even both his shots on target. He has been a waste in the final third so far.
The above viz shows quite clearly his off form this season. Ranked only 29th percentile for touches in opposition penalty box per 90 intends to the fact how less threatening he has been. His rank has been 71st percentile approximately in terms of dribbles attempted per 90 but his success rate has been just 11th percentile, where he has been a poor dribbler too. He has ranked 19th percentile in offensive duels success rate while engaging in way more duels ranking 84th percentile in the league.
All the stats show that Todd Cantwell has been really poor and nowhere near his potential he was deemed to reach. Daniel Farke’ decision is arguably very correct but his luck has not favoured him where his plan B and C has failed miserably too.
Witnessing all these awful displays on the pitch, if Farke gets sacked and then Cantwell might have a second life again under a new manager. Only 23 years old, he has still got time and scope to improve. How well his future fares for him, only time will tell.