If one thing is clear from the past five or so matches, it’s that Rangers have a player now in midfield who has pushed the level of the team up a notch, and who crosses into ‘exceptional’ territory.
Todd Cantwell, just turned 25, is hitting his football peak in the sport, and Rangers are the absolute beneficiary of this, with a player who was rated at £50M only 18 months ago by Norwich (they refused to sell below that to Villa who sought a Grealish replacement) now showing why he was once viewed so highly.
It’s hard to remember a player who has eased into the shirt this seamlessly – we’ve made the comparison before but he reminds us of the instant impact Carlos Cuellar made all those years ago, and how the Spaniard looked a class above anything before or frankly since him.
Well Cantwell looks a class above everyone else in the team, even when they all have outstanding matches as they did last night at Easter Road.
Looking at Cantwell’s numbers:
90% passing (only Goldson bested this)
Key passes, 1.
3 crosses, one attempt at a long ball (accurate)
Tackles 1, interceptions 3
He was everywhere, and he made and makes the game look absolutely easy.
Look here, at the sequence Rangers posted of some of his play:
That kind of composure, retention, power, vision, workrate – these are the attributes Cantwell has in abundance and we’d say he’s still getting up to speed with his own match fitness.
In an alternative world, had he got a move to a Premier League team, Cantwell would be an England squad member. Not sure he’s quite at the level of starting for them, and it’s hard to measure a player against Hibs compared with Man Utd, but every match the lad has played he’s just looked a different animal to the thoroughly average players Rangers have frequently had in that area.
Well, not thoroughly average, but ‘standard SPL fare’ level.
Cantwell is a different breed.
He’s got a second chance at Rangers and he is taking it – continue on this vein of form over the season and beyond, and not only will the £2M for him look like an insult to Norwich, but Premier League sides will absolutely be interested.
And Cantwell will earn Rangers a fortune.
Not bad for player Norwich were happy to get rid of.