In January when Rangers were first linked to Todd Cantwell, the reaction was very mixed. He was a player who hadn’t been playing much and when he had been, he wasn’t in great form. It seemed a risky deal at a time where the club couldn’t afford to take risks. He was a player who, just a couple of years previously, had been touted for moves worth over the £30m mark. They didn’t come to fruition however and his career seemed to stagnate.
Rangers fans were expecting a creative midfielder who probably wouldn’t put much effort in on the defensive end. Someone who could score and create but, overall, would be a luxury player. In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth, he has surprised everyone with his work rate and tenacity.
In 14 SPFL appearances he has four goals, four assists and has won the heart of the majority of Rangers fans. His application on the pitch since he arrived has been incredible, he shows a perpetual dogged determination to win the ball back. He does all the dirty work in the midfield and that is what has endeared him to the fans. Obviously fans love watching him take on and beat opponents and put the ball in the back of the net. That’s what they expected of him though, the work rate and ability to win the ball back was a surprise and part of the reason the fans now love him so much.
Defensively his numbers have been excellent;
- 1 Interception Per Game
- 1.8 Tackles Per Game
- 51% Ground Duels Won (5.6 Per Game)
- 4 Yellow Cards
The yellow cards are actually important, he’s shown a grit and dirty side to his game that the Rangers midfield had been lacking. He gets stuck in and isn’t afraid to fly into tackles, again, something that wasn’t expected of him prior to his arrival. He can play anywhere in the midfield or the wings and his versatility is crucial in game and let’s the manager change things without having to make a sub.
Going forward he’s been Rangers biggest creative threat, everything goes through him and he is what makes the attack tick. Even going forward he’s far exceeded fan expectation, he holds the ball incredibly well and always seems to pick the right pass. His decision making with the ball has been key to his attacking success so far, a very intelligent footballer with the ability to match. These are his attacking numbers so far;
- 128mins Per Goal Contribution
- 1.5 Key Passes Per Game
- 88% Pass Accuracy
- 53% Successful Dribbles (1.4 Per Game)
He’s been Rangers best player since he arrived at the club, it’s truly incredible the impact he’s made in four months. It’s now difficult to imagine how this Rangers team functions without Todd Cantwell in it.
£1.5m seemed a risk at the time but that could turn out to be one of the biggest bargains in recent Rangers history. How important do you think Todd Cantwell is to this Rangers team and how impressed have you been with him?