The Reading striker notched a couple of fine goals for Scotland's Under-19 team during the 2-2 friendly draw against the Czech Republic at Cappielow on Tuesday night, further justifying the £75,000 which the Championship side paid Hull City for his services last summer.
Steve Bruce might have splashed in excess of £30m upgrading Hull City's squad this summer but essentially Cardwell made a different calculation: that his chances of career progression were far better under Nigel Adkins and the Category 1 standard academy at the Madjeski Stadium.
The issue of Anglo-Scots in the national team has rarely been thornier - the likes of Charlie Gilmour and Mackenzie Heaney now appear likely to be playing against Scotland in the Victory Shield this autumn rather than for us - but Cardwell for one is following in some famous family footsteps.
While he was born and raised south of the border, his Scotland appearance honoured his grandparents Tom and Catherine Wilson, in particular his grandfather who played with distinction as a central defender at both Millwall and Hull during the 1960s.
Indeed, Tom Wilson's family footprint wasn't restricted to playing, serving afterwards as both caretaker manager and club secretary at Boothferry Park, and granted a testimonial illustrious enough for it to be graced by both Charlton brothers, Billy Bremner and Welsh legend John Charles.
"My grandparents are both Scottish, they were born in Rosewell near Edinburgh so it is a really proud moment for me and my family to represent Scotland," said Cardwell. "As a professional footballer, my grandfather was ecstatic that I got picked to play for Scotland. He was a centre-half who was involved in 56 unbeaten games or something like that in a really successful Millwall team. And he has given me a few tips, what he didn't like playing against and things like that."
After today's closed-door game against the same opponents, Ricky Sbragia's side travel to Lithuania next month to tackle a qualifying group which includes Norway, Finland and the hosts. Cardwell, part of a sizeable Scottish contingent at Reading which includes the Under-21 player Dominic Hyam, and Under-17 regulars Zak Jules and Jake Sheppard, feels ready to take his chance for both club and country.
"The Scots do stick together, it's a bit like Scotch Corner, and we get a bit of banter from the other lads," he said. "But I was lucky enough to sign a three-year deal at Reading this summer, so it has just been positive things for me recently.
"I tried to look elsewhere, look for places that are giving players their chance, rather than just buying big name players in. I was determined to better myself as a player and if that meant moving away from home and moving to a better academy then so be it."