Inside Todd Cantwell's different Christmases and the match that caught Rangers' eye

Todd Cantwell will be expected to deliver goals and assists for Rangers after completing his move from Norwich City – but he is used to making others happy.

Todd Cantwell is unveiled as a Rangers player at Ibrox.
Todd Cantwell is unveiled as a Rangers player at Ibrox.

The 24-year-old has spent the past two Christmases handing out presents to people in his Norfolk village of Dereham, demonstrating a moral compass and awareness of a wider social responsibility often missing in his peers. Cantwell admits that it was the sort of thing that would have excited him as a young Norwich fan had any of his heroes arranged it so felt there was no reason why he couldn’t make it a reality for the latest generation of supporters.

“It’s something for me that’s really simple,” said Cantwell. “Sometimes footballers don’t really realise the power they have to influence people. That’s something I took great pride in at Norwich, being a lad who wanted to be the lad that I’ve become in many senses.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Something like that is so powerful and moving for little kids and families going through tough times. To have someone knock on your door and give you a present like you see on TV can be what Christmas is really about. It’s not about what you’re given, it's about families and being there and making people smile.

“I think I’ve got a good appreciation of the position I’m in. And how quickly I couldn’t have been in the position I’m in. I’ve got a lot of friends who were with me in the academy who aren’t lucky enough to be professional footballers.

“If I was a little kid and a Norwich City player at that time knocked on my door to wish me happy Christmas and give me a present I’d have been the happiest kid in the world. I looked at it like that. It was completely my idea. I’ve always loved Christmas and it was something I thought long and hard about. And then I thought, why am I thinking long and hard about it? It was simple. I should just go and do it. So I did.”

Cantwell first appeared on Michael Beale’s radar when he was a youth player at Norwich and Beale was a coach at Liverpool. And he likes to think the seed planted in those days has led to him completing his transfer to Rangers. “We played against Liverpool quite a lot with Norwich and that would have been where he first became aware of me,” he explained. “I would have been around 16 or 17. I remember one game at Carrow Road when they let fans into the stadium and we had quite an atmosphere. I think I played up to the fact we had fans there.

“The manager and me had multiple conversations about my move. It was something the media got hold of quite quickly, but it wasn’t something that was rushed It was spoken about, gone through, and we all agreed it was the right thing to do. For me, the level of dedication the club showed, letting me think about things, while making it crystal clear I was someone they wanted, was really powerful for me. I think I am at the point now where I want to get on the football pitch and just be playing and showing everyone what I can do.”