Todd Cantwell explains squad number 13 decision as new Rangers signing aims to create long-lasting Ibrox legacy
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New Rangers signing Todd Cantwell has opened up on how big Michael Beale’s influence was in his decision to join the Ibrox club as he immediately set his sights on competing for silverware and testing himself in Europe.
The former Norwich City midfielder, who agreed a long-term contract after his departure from Carrow Road on Monday, is convinced his fellow Englishman can get the best out of him as he seeks to revitalise a career that has spiralled in the wrong direction.
The talented former England youth international broke through into the Canaries first-team set up alongside James Maddison but his career trajectory hasn’t followed the same route as his old team-mate. While Maddison has reached new heights at Leicester City, Cantwell has found himself out of favour in East Anglia after loan spells at Fortuna Sittard and AFC Bournemouth.
While admitting things haven’t gone to plan in recent years, Cantwell is hoping his decision to select uncommon squad number 13 is one fans will associate with him as he aims to create a lasting impression in Govan.
Speaking in his first interview with Rangers TV, Cantwell said: “It goes without saying that over the last few seasons I would say things haven’t gone to plane. I don’t believe that 13 is an unlucky number as you make your own luck. I am looking to make it my own and to have people remember it.
“Can I kick on here? Definitely. My career hasn’t gone the way I would have planned in the last few years. The guys have seen the person I am, the player I am and that means a lot to me. To be able to get this chance at such a big club and to be able to have that platform to kick on and show the player I want to turn into.
“The manager wants to make me a better player and that’s really important. He was massive in terms of why I came here. It is really important to have a manager that believes in you and you believe in them. Not a lot of players say it but you need to be on board with everything if you want to get the best version of yourself. I feel the manager can get the best out of me and I am looking forward to working with him.
“I think this is a very important stage of my career if I’m being honest and an important move. Speaking to Ross (Wilson) and speaking to the manager, they seem like to very good people as well as being good at their job and what they do. The manager was very clear with me and laid out exactly what it is that they like about me and what it is they want from me. For a player, that’s you can really ask for - clarity. The chance to play in Europe as well and to win trophies is why I’m here.”
Cantwell has two EFL Championship winners medals to his name with Norwich and reckons he will be able to cope with the weight of expectation that comes with being a Rangers player. He also offered fans an insight what type of player they can expect to see when he makes his debut.
He added: “I love pressure and even since I was a little kid I always want to win - no matter what it is I play. I can have a game of ping pong with my brother and be as competitive as you like to try and win it. In terms of winning and having that mentality, that is embedded in me and I look forward to showing that on the pitch.
“This is a massive club and there is a massive responsibility when you sign for Rangers to be the player that the fans want to see, someone that works hard and can win them games which is very important. That’s something I’m hoping I can bring.
“I am the type of player that likes to be on the ball. I like to think I can see passes and some people can’t and I have the ability to unlock a defence. I would say I’m a good ball carrier but we will have to see and you can guage that for yourself! But I like to dribble, I like to be excited and I am an attacking player so I like to bring that creative spark and maybe something that other players can’t do.”
Cantwell has yet to sample his first experience of European football but admits he is relishing that possibility next season.
He continued: “I can’t wait. It’s something that you always watch, those European night during the week, and I have watched plenty of games with Rangers and the success they had in the Europa League not that long ago. I am really excited to get into that sort of competition and to be playing on some of the biggest stages in the world.”