Chris Sutton, once an expert header of the ball, is speaking to Norwich’s Todd Cantwell, who confesses he cannot stand the feeling of getting his noggin on the end of a cross.

For Cantwell, one moment from his childhood stands out. After two first-half goals against Tottenham boys, his coach challenged him to use his head and, well, he can explain the rest.

TC: I remember taking it round the goalkeeper, stopping the ball on the line and heading it.

CS: Down on all fours?

TC: The coach said to me: “I want you to get a headed goal. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you score one.” I absolutely hate heading. I’ve got the worst technique because it hurts every time I do it. That went down really badly with the academy manager – I actually recall getting pulled off. I didn’t mean it in a disrespectful way. It was more of an internal joke but I do get why that came across as disrespectful.

Sportsmail's Chris Sutton caught up with Todd Cantwell to talk all things Norwich and more

Sportsmail's Chris Sutton caught up with Todd Cantwell to talk all things Norwich and more

Sportsmail’s Chris Sutton caught up with Todd Cantwell to talk all things Norwich and more

Stories such as that perhaps contribute to the apparent perception of Cantwell as arrogant. Maybe his social media confidence, stylish hairstyle and surfing goal celebration add to that, too.

But in reality, this is a 21-year-old with a good head on his shoulders (even if he isn’t using it for scoring goals). Over a half-hour chat, Cantwell is polite, witty, well spoken and driven.

Playing for a top-six club would not faze him, he says, but securing survival is priority No 1.

Cantwell said he's never been best at heading but once found a cheeky way to score a header

Cantwell said he's never been best at heading but once found a cheeky way to score a header

Cantwell said he’s never been best at heading but once found a cheeky way to score a header

CS: As a local lad, playing for Norwich in the Premier League, you’re living the dream. But talk to me about the ‘Cantwell surf’ goal celebration. You’re from Dereham and that’s nowhere near the coast.

TC: Going into Manchester City, to settle the nerves, I was watching music videos on my phone before the game. There’s a song called Surf, by Young Thug (an American rapper). I was watching it and honestly, as soon as I scored, it just happened. It wasn’t something I planned.

CS: So you’ve never actually been surfing?

TC: No! I know the hair might say otherwise. But I like to switch off and listen to music. If I start thinking about the game, I get too excited too early and you probably lose energy. To be honest, everyone has headphones in! Maybe some of the older boys at the back (of the bus) might be having a conversation but us younger lads have our headphones in and we’re away.

CS: Times have changed, and I’ve heard a story about your initiation song being Love Yourself by Justin Bieber when you joined the senior squad. We had a very different initiation at Norwich back in the day. At Christmas, you’d have to strip down and sing a Christmas carol while the first team launched bars of soap at us!

Cantwell revealed his surf celebration came out of the blue - and that he's never even surfed!

Cantwell revealed his surf celebration came out of the blue - and that he's never even surfed!

Cantwell revealed his surf celebration came out of the blue – and that he’s never even surfed!

He said his most nervous moment at Norwich was singing Justin Bieber at his initiation

He said his most nervous moment at Norwich was singing Justin Bieber at his initiation

He said his most nervous moment at Norwich was singing Justin Bieber at his initiation

TC: Oh wow. I think it’s toned down a little since then. To be fair, the scholar lads come in at Christmas and do a couple of songs.

CS: Was your Bieber impression your most nervous moment at Norwich so far?

TC: Do you know what? It probably was. My legs were shaking. There was a lot of practise. The boys had said to me if it was rubbish, we’d have to do it the next week – which I later found out was a lie.

CS: You’ve been described as the ‘Bieber of Norwich’ on my Sportsmail colleague Peter Crouch’s podcast. I call you the ‘Dereham Deco’. Which do you prefer? Can you remember Deco?

TC: I have listened to that! It’s all fun and games. I do know who Deco was. He was a fantastic footballer. That’s probably got a better ring to it. It’s a privilege to be called that.

Cantwell admitted he'd happily take on a nickname relating to former Barcelona star Deco

Cantwell admitted he'd happily take on a nickname relating to former Barcelona star Deco

Cantwell admitted he’d happily take on a nickname relating to former Barcelona star Deco

Cantwell was nine when he joined Norwich’s academy. Only him and goalkeeper Aston Oxborough – currently on loan at non-League Wealdstone – made it professionally.

His idol was Lionel Messi, because of the way the Barcelona wizard did not let his small stature stop him.

That was the sentiment behind his social media tweet on New Year’s Eve: ‘Written off, not strong enough, not quick enough. Well listen up, I’m on my way to the top and no one is going to stop me!’ The post was liked by 52,000-plus users.

TC: I really didn’t want it to look like that (arrogance). As a kid I was written off. “He’s a brilliant footballer but not strong enough, not tall enough, not got the right attitude…” I was always labelled in the academy as someone who thought a lot of himself.

Cantwell was just one of two players to make it professional from his age group at Norwich

Cantwell was just one of two players to make it professional from his age group at Norwich

Cantwell was just one of two players to make it professional from his age group at Norwich

CS: Was it jealousy?

TC: I would say so. If I would do tricks or skills, someone would say: “He’s messing around, he thinks he’s too good.” I never really let it get to me. I’ve always been taught from home that I should express myself.

CS: Are you arrogant?

TC: I wouldn’t say I’m arrogant.

CS: But is a little bit of that not needed at this level?

TC: You definitely need self-belief and confidence, but there is a very fine line between that and arrogance. I would like to think I sit on the other side of that.

The 21-year-old has shrugged off the doubters to become a regular Premier League starter

The 21-year-old has shrugged off the doubters to become a regular Premier League starter

The 21-year-old has shrugged off the doubters to become a regular Premier League starter

Cantwell joined Dutch club Fortuna Sittard on loan in 2017-18 – a move which made him ‘fall in love with football again’ after becoming disillusioned with the Under-23s scene.

He helped them to promotion, then did the same with Norwich in 2018-19, despite sometimes feeling like an ‘easy target’ as the local lad whenever things went wrong.

This starlet hails from a footballing family – his parents, Steve and Jackie, brother, Jordan, and sister, Amber, all played or play. In 2018 they lined up together in a charity match for Help Delete Cancer while mum watched from the stands. 

He had a successful loan spell at Dutch side Fortuna Sittard and helped them win promotion

He had a successful loan spell at Dutch side Fortuna Sittard and helped them win promotion

He had a successful loan spell at Dutch side Fortuna Sittard and helped them win promotion

TC: That was special. I had a bit of a go at my sister. I said: “You’ve got to turn up here.” She was the only girl playing and naturally, a couple of the guys weren’t giving her the ball. I gave her the ball a couple of times, she gave it away and I said: “That’s your last time.” But no, it’s all love.

CS: Let’s talk Liverpool and your league position. You started at Anfield on the season’s opening day. Now they’re top, you’re bottom. But your performances have been good and there seems to be real confidence in this group. It defies logic!

TC: You play well, you feel comfortable, then you lose via a deflection or an individual mistake and you feel robbed. We’re playing at a level where we can definitely pull wins together and catch up.

CS: How do you take defeats?

TC: I’m a bad loser. I sit there and I’m almost looking for someone to be happy about losing and then I’m fuming. To be fair, in this changing room, the way we’ve all bonded from coming up, we’re all aligned in that sense. We’re all hating it.

Norwich are bottom of the Premier League but Cantwell is confident they can still stay up

Norwich are bottom of the Premier League but Cantwell is confident they can still stay up

Norwich are bottom of the Premier League but Cantwell is confident they can still stay up

CS: When I was at Norwich, I had my head turned by Blackburn after a couple of good seasons. You’re talented, and a name now. Where do your ambitions lie?

TC: Naturally any individual wants to try to get to the highest level they can. But at the moment, we’ve got a big task on our hands. I’m fully focused on taking us to where we should be and where we should remain.

CS: Can you play for a big-six club?

TC: With development and improvement, I could definitely get to that position. But it touches a little bit on self-confidence. If you don’t believe that then there’s no real point in starting out in the first place. You’ve really got to believe that you can get to the highest point. If you don’t, who will? I’m learning. Things aren’t always going to be perfect. I’m going to make mistakes, I can assure you of that. But I genuinely feel like I’m becoming a better player. Sometimes I do have to pinch myself when I think about the fact that I’ve grown up in this city and now I get to pull on the shirt on a Saturday. It’s surreal.

He is fully focused on Norwich's relegation battle but believes he can reach the top one day

He is fully focused on Norwich's relegation battle but believes he can reach the top one day

He is fully focused on Norwich’s relegation battle but believes he can reach the top one day