Youth team bids fond farewell to Dereham 'hero' Cantwell
- Credit: Archant/Paul Chesterton
The football club where Todd Cantwell earned his first footballing stripes has issued a fond farewell to the midfielder after he left Norwich City.
Mark Donaldson, chairman of Dereham Town Youth, admitted players and coaches had been sad to see the 23-year-old leave Norfolk.
Cantwell sealed a loan move to Bournemouth on transfer deadline day after months of speculation surrounding his future.
The Championship side have the option to make the transfer permanent in the summer for a reported fee of around £11m.
Cantwell, who attended Northgate High School, played at Dereham Town up to under-10 level when he was a youngster growing up in the town.
Despite being disappointed to see him leave, Mr Donaldson said everyone at the club wished him nothing but the best in his new chapter.
"Genuinely, a lot of the young players look up to him and he is a hero in their eyes - for one lad in particular," he added.
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"They adore Todd. He is a local celebrity, really, and they will be sad to see him go.
"I am sure he will be watched closely by them while he is at Bournemouth, as well as by all of Norwich's other supporters.
"I genuinely hope he gets to play and make an impact. Bournemouth might get promoted and, if Norwich stay up, that will give him another option as I'm sure he wants to play in the Premier League.
Cantwell has been in the Norwich City set-up for more than a decade, scoring 14 goals and grabbing 12 assists in 110 appearances after breaking into the first team.
He became an ever-present under Daniel Farke, and notched memorable strikes against Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal during the 2019/20 Premier League campaign.
While struggling for playing time this year, the Dereham Deco received praised over the festive season as he dropped off Christmas presents on the doorsteps of fans in his hometown who hung out yellow and green balloons.
"What he did over Christmas around the town was incredible and impacted a lot of the youth.
"We would like to wish him well and hope to see him back in a Norwich City shirt."