Todd Cantwell has been a revelation for Rangers since his arrival from Norwich in January. Is he now the clubs most important player? The 25-year-old needed a fresh start and that is exactly what Michael Beale offered him.
He arrived at the club with fans anticipating a luxury attacking midfielder but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. He’s played as an 8 and a 10 and thrived in both positions.
He’s currently the heartbeat of that Rangers midfield. Most attacking moves go through him and he’s always willing to take the game by the scruff of the neck.
The decision to drop him on the opening day again Kilmarnock baffled fans. His performance that day and since then have proven how important he is to Rangers playing well.
Which begs the question, is he, currently, Rangers most important player?
Todd Cantwell ended the season in superb form, scoring in 4 of the 5 SPFL split fixtures. These were his numbers for the 22/23 SPFL season;
- 16 appearances (15 starts)
- 1.3 Key Passes Per Game
- 89% Pass Accuracy
- 1.1 Interceptions Per Game
- 1.8 Tackles Per Game
- 51% Ground Duels Won (5.4 Per Game)
- 55% Successful Dribbles (1.5 Per Game)
These are the numbers of an incredibly well rounded midfielder. He’s capable of doing whatever is asked of him to help the team. 10 goal contributions in 16 appearances is also incredible. He got on the end of attacking moves as much as he started them.
His tenacity and desire to win the ball back is probably what has impressed fans the most. Everyone knew what he was capable of with the ball at his feet but no one expected his off ball work to be so impressive.
Todd Cantwell vs Livingston
After being dropped for the 1st SPFL fixture of the season he was back in the starting lineup on Saturday. As usual, especially at Ibrox, he was one of the best players on the pitch. These were his numbers;
- 88% Pass Accuracy
- 1 Chance Created
- 50% Successful Dribbles (2/4)
- 10 Passes into the Final Third
- 83% Long Ball Accuracy (5/6)
- 100% Tackles won (2/2)
- 2 Interceptions
- 8 Recoveries
- 55% Ground Duels Won
Another all round performance from Rangers star man, he just does everything so well. His build up with Sam Lammers for the first goal was excellent. His dummy was superb but the first touch from the pass back was even better. He then fired the ball across but it fell to a defender who could only knock it into the onrushing Lammers path. Lammers gets the credit but Cantwell’s ingenuity made the goal.
The build up play just seems to click more when he’s involved. The midfield link up better and he makes sure the ball keeps moving. He’s the player that’s key in getting Rangers up the pitch. The different is night and day when he’s not in the side, as was seen against Killie.
He’s formed a friendship and partnership with Nico Raskin in midfield. I’ve really enjoyed how him and Lammers have linked up so far though. They are two very intelligent and technically sound footballers. Both are capable of moments of magic, like we witnessed on Saturday. I’m excited to see more of them in action together.
Rangers Without Todd Cantwell
The Kilmarnock performance was awful, on every level. The passing through to the attack was slow and no one looked overly bothered about driving forward. There was a lack of drive and quality in the side, particularly through the midfield.
As soon as Cantwell was added Rangers had someone willing to drive and commit the Killie defenders. That helped to open up space and create chances.
My answer to the question in the title of the article is yes. I believe that Todd Cantwell is Rangers most important player right now. It’s clear to see that the midfield doesn’t gel as well without him in it.
The attacking play is slower and less imaginative. He creates, he presses from the front and always looks to get forward. He’s one of the most positive players on the pitch when he plays.
He’s been a joy to watch in his short spell at Rangers so far. All he needed was a fresh start to get back close to the level that had him touted for the England team and £30m+ moves.
Do you think that Todd Cantwell is Rangers most important player? If not, who do you think is?
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