Hopefully we will one day celebrate the achievements of this Norfolk youngster

Todd Cantwell of Norwich celebrates scoring his sides 2nd goal during the Premier League match at Ca

Todd Cantwell of Norwich celebrates scoring his sides 2nd goal during the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 14/09/2019 - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Have you heard about the young man from Norfolk who's managed to break through as a professional footballer?

Even though thousands of talented youngsters fail to make the grade in the sport every year, this young man has not only become a regular for his team, but it's the one he has supported throughout his life. It's the stuff dreams are made of.

What's more, at just 23-years-old, he's appeared in the Premier League, widely regarded as the best league in the world, played over 100 games in total and even represented England at under 21 level.

With much of his career ahead of him, who knows what else he might yet achieve.

Sure, he's hit a bit of a rough patch of late, but that still sounds to me like a list of achievements to be celebrated and for which Norfolk should be proud. 

Football fans amongst you will probably know by now that I'm talking about Todd Cantwell, who has been derided by many over the last week or so since making his move away from Norwich City to Bournemouth on loan.

His departure has led to bitterness and disappointment amongst those supporters who feel the youngster has turned his back on the club and should be blamed for doing so. 

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However, I think there's a completely different narrative to be had on the Dereham youngster and his time at Carrow Road.

I've been following the Canaries for 35 years and can probably count on one hand the number of Norfolk-raised players who have come through the ranks to play for the first-team. Even fewer go on to do so regularly.

The fact Todd Cantwell achieved that feat in the first place is a real credit to him.

I remember when he appeared on the first team scene. I think many fans saw a scrawny kid with lots of raw talent - but possibly too slight to make it at the club. How many of us truly expected anything other than he would fall down the leagues, as so many other 'hot' products at the club have done previously?

Despite this, he broke through to become a regular in the side and play his part in many magic moments under Daniel Farke. Moments that fans will look back fondly on for years to come.

My own son is a member of the same Norwich City development programme that both Cantwell and fellow Norwich City youngster Angus Gunn came through.

The statistics show he's unlikely to get anywhere close to them in terms of football - nevertheless they have been an inspiration to him and no doubt thousands more. They show it can be done. That dreams can be realised.

Of course all Norwich City fans will feel sadness at how his last few months at the club turned out and wonder what might have been for him had he stayed, got his head down and hit form again.

Academy products Max Aarons, left, and Todd Cantwell are enjoying their second title success with Ci

Academy products Max Aarons, left, and Todd Cantwell are enjoying their second title success with City.

And I'm sure we will eventually find out that the player himself, and those around him, could have managed the situation in a more professional way.

However, in no way do I think his time at Norwich City deserves to be framed as a failure.

We have a history in this country of building up 'stars', only to shoot them down. We've seen it in the past with England international teams and the media of which I'm part is no doubt as culpable for this as anyone.

However, I hope that, once the hurt has subsided, all Norfolk people, not just football fans, will come to realise that this youngster's story is one of success in reaching the very top in his chosen field.

I hope Cantwell goes far in his career and, even should our football club not reap the rewards, we all come to celebrate and cherish his achievements, just as we should for all Norfolk people who make it to the very top.