Born just 20 miles from Carrow Road in Dereham, Norfolk, Todd Cantwell’s status as a Canary is so engrained even his blond locks seem to be Norwich through and through.

The colourful midfielder joined City’s youth ranks at under-10 level in 2008 and remained on the club’s books right up until last year, when he moved to the cinch Premiership to join Rangers during the January transfer window following the sacking of Dean Smith as Norwich manager the previous month.

A couple of short loans spells to Fortuna Sittard in the Netherlands and AFC Bournemouth aside, Cantwell’s entire playing career has been wrapped in yellow and green.

After making his senior debut in the Championship in January 2018 under Daniel Farke, Cantwell went on to help the Canaries clinch the title the following season and return to the Premier League as his career took off in explosive fashion. But from there it has gone into a yo-yo-ing pattern with Farke’s side relegated in their first season back before again winning the Championship title to return to the top flight in 2021, only to return to the second tier again the following year with

Farke replaced by Dean Smith during that ill-fated campaign. And after an underwhelming start to the Championship season, Smith was dismissed in December and by January Cantwell was on his way to Glasgow.

“I think where I was before, I needed to get out of my environment and get into a new one,” Cantwell said of his decision to sign for Michael Beale in January 2023. “It’s a completely different club, a completely different league. The leagues are very different and, obviously, it’s a different country as well. The two can’t really be compared, I don’t think.

“I think I needed to play for an ambitious team. In many ways, it has definitely done the role that it was supposed to do for me.

“A couple of injuries have given a little bit of a bitter taste about how the season might have been for me personally, but the season where it is and what’s up for grabs now, if you’d said to me at the start, ‘Would you take that?’, I’d probably have said yes.

“I’m getting back into the shape that I want to be in and I’m looking to finish strongly.”

If Cantwell’s fluctuating fortunes at Norwich are not to prove to be the canary in the coal mine for Rangers after they secured the first leg of their targeted treble back in December, Cantwell accepts that he will have to be one of the players who steps up to drive up standards in their next six fixtures, starting with the return to Premiership duty against St Mirren in Paisley this afternoon. And he accepts that it is he and his team-mates’ responsibility to meet the expectations of the Ibrox supporters.

“Yeah, I do [understand to pressure]. I’ve spoken to a lot of people on my travels, a lot of Rangers fans, and I understand what it means to play for this club,” Cantwell said.

“It’s not always easy to provide the quality that you know you can — sometimes you can just have an off day. I know what is required off the ball and how they want someone to play for the shirt.

“I think that’s all I can try to do in every game and hopefully my quality comes through.

“The most testing part is yourself. The demands are obvious and simple, but for yourself it’s about being able to pick yourself up from disappointments in games, disappointments in performances, disappointment in yourself, disappointment in the team — the everyday challenges that a footballer goes through, and people probably don’t appreciate so much.

“You don’t get that breathing time here. You go straight back into another game and the expectations are back up to the roof.

“So, I think it’s important that you find within yourself a place that you can get to and know what you can get out of yourself. I think I’ve found that.”

There have been times during recent seasons where accusations of a lack of mentality amongst the Rangers squad has hampered their ability to pick up more silverware, as their rivals across the city have taken the lion’s share of honours in recent years. However, Cantwell is convinced there is enough character in the dressing room to achieve the goals they have set out for themselves this season, but he accepts it is up to them now to deliver.

“I think mentality comes down to the big games,” Cantwell said. “You need to be ready to be judged on the big games and how you react within that.

“I think the group has the mentality to achieve everything we want to achieve this season but saying it and actioning it are two very different things.

“Everyone in the changing room is excited to finish the season and finish it strong.

“If we do exactly what we’ve set out to do, the mentality will no longer be questioned.”

Asked if failure to meet those goals would be a major regret, Cantwell added: “Not necessarily. Because it wasn’t in our own hands at one point when we were eight or nine points behind, so what we’ve actually done is put ourselves back in contention.

“Yeah, we had a little slip when things were in a good place. But the season is by no means done. We’ve got six games and we need to win every game. If we do, then I think it will be a good season.”

The title race has swung back and forth plenty of times already this season, Cantwell will be hoping the yo-yo effect continues in the coming weeks as Rangers look to retain their lead in the Premiership table.