Classy finish from Cantwell pleases City U23s boss Gill after hard-fought victory over Bournemouth
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Todd Cantwell's moment of quality proved the difference for Norwich City Under-23s against Bournemouth and continued the playmaker's recent rise to prominence.
The 19-year-old made his first-team debut last Wednesday, coming on in the closing stages of normal time of City's FA Cup third round replay at Chelsea, then going on to play extra-time against the Premier League giants as well.
After being an unused substitute for the fourth time in the Championship on Saturday, the Norfolk-born talent played the full match and scored a 90th-minute winner at Carrow Road on Monday night, in a 1-0 victory in the Premier League Cup group stages.
'It was probably one of the few moments of quality in the whole game, a nicely weighted pass from Louis Mac (McIntosh) and Toddy took it on and finished it excellently,' Canaries U23s boss Matt Gill said.
'That's the type of talent that he's got and he's come to the fore at the end, which is good, and got us the 1-0 win. It was a bit of a battling performance, not tremendous amounts of quality in the game.
'Just speaking to the analysts then, last Sunday's game (a 4-3 win over Newcastle) we had lots of possession, moved the ball really well and tonight was probably the opposite.
'I suppose when you're looking back on the game and you're not playing very well but you grind out a 1-0 win, they're attributes that they're going to need in the future, so we'll take whatever learning we can from tonight.'
The Dereham-raised youngster is under contract until at least 2019, with City understood to have the option of a further 12 months, and Gill stressed there is still a great deal of hard work ahead of the midfielder – who now has seven goals in 18 games for the U23s to his name this season.
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'Todd's been with the academy since he was nine or 10, so it's fantastic for himself, he's worked really hard,' former Canaries midfielder Gill continued.
'Obviously he realises this is just the start of the hard work and for the academy, there's a lot of people's work that's gone into helping Todd get that debut, all the way through to Colin Watts in recruitment.
'Lots of the coaches that are still at the club have worked really hard with Todd, and some that have left, so it's a small reward for a lot of people who have put a lot of hard work in for him.'
The match also saw left-back Harry Toffolo return from a broken foot picked up in early December while on loan with League One side Doncaster Rovers.
Playing the first half as he stepped up his recovery, the 22-year-old FA Youth Cup winner looks likely to be heading back out on loan before the end of the January transfer window.
'Toffs has trained with us for three out of the last four days and needed some minutes under his belt,' Gill added. 'So good to get 45 under his belt and that's just a continuation of his return to fitness and return to playing.
'He's made a lot of appearances now in the Football League, has Toffers (83 in total). He's been excellent for us, very vocal with the younger lads in training and in the game, so just pleased to see him back out on the grass after his injury.'