What Daniel Farke said about Todd Cantwell being frozen out at Norwich City as midfielder is left out of squad again amid Newcastle United speculation
Two seasons ago, Todd Cantwell was seen as one of the most promising young talents in English football.
During the 2019-20 campaign, Cantwell notched six goals in his opening 21 Premier League matches for a struggling Norwich City side.
Aged just 21 at the time, he also registered two assists – both coming against Newcastle United in a 3-1 win at Carrow Road.
Cantwell’s form fell off in the second half of that season as Norwich were relegated from the top flight.
The Canaries bounced straight back to the Premier League but the midfielder’s involvement has been minimal this term despite the side sitting rock bottom of the table.
Cantwell has started just five league games this campaign with three of those starts coming in the opening weeks of the season. He is yet to register a goal or an assist and was made to play for Norwich’s under-23s side after being frozen out by previous manager Daniel Farke.
But that hasn't stopped relegation rivals Newcastle registering an interest in the midfielder, with a potential £15million move reported.
When asked to explain Cantwell's omission from Norwich’s matchday squad earlier in the season, Farke said: “Sadly I have to say with Todd the last couple of months, I can’t remember one full training week when he was available for the full week. He has missed too many sessions for personal reasons, or problems with his Achilles and ankle.
“He has to make sure he is working so hard to find his fitness level. You cannot afford to be out for two or three weeks, train a day or two and then be available to shine on this level. It is not possible.
"You can’t press a button. Maybe two weeks of full training with no setbacks, to bring that quality and consistency and fight your way back.
“We speak a lot. Especially with the younger players. Sometimes they need an arm around the shoulder. Sometimes it is tougher love. Younger players have to learn and experience these things. But Todd is not 18 anymore. It is not difficult.
"The rules are clear for each player. You have to be physically and mentally prepared and show consistency in training and be available. The standards and the levels are the same for every player.”
Farke – who left his role as Norwich manager back in November with the club sitting bottom of the table – also questioned Cantwell’s mentality when it comes to a relegation battle.
“When you get the feeling they are ready for the intense battles, and fighting against relegation for a newly promoted team who has to be at 100-per-cent every game, then we will use them,” he added.
"You can only be mentally fully prepared at this level if you are physically fully ready and that comes from knowing you have trained all week at top intensity. We can’t change how the last months have developed but he has a huge task now ahead.”
Cantwell missed Norwich’s FA Cup win over Charlton Athletic over the weekend due to illness and was absent from training on Monday but current manager Dean Smith expects him to travel with the squad for the match at West Ham United on Wednesday evening (7:45pm kick-off).