Dean Smith in the dark over Norwich midfielder transfer chances amid Newcastle threat

Dean Smith is hoping that Todd Cantwell stays at Norwich City amid links with Newcastle United, but admits he has been in a “frustrating” situation and needs to build confidence.

Cantwell is out of contract at Carrow Road at the end of the season. Although, Norwich have the option to extend his deal by a further season. However, interest is already mounting in the attacking midfielder.

A recent report from the Telegraph named Cantwell as a target for Newcastle. They also claimed Norwich would not be against sanctioning a January deal. Selling him now may be their best chance to make a good amount of money on him, despite potentially strengthening a relegation rival.

Sky Sports followed it up with their own information that Cantwell is of interest to Newcastle and one other Premier League club. They believe Norwich are looking for a fee in the region of between £15m and £20m.

All Smith can concentrate on is getting the best out of Cantwell while he is still a Norwich player. It has been a relatively tough season so far for the 23-year-old. He is yet to score or assist from eight Premier League appearances, including just five starts.

Indeed, when asked about Cantwell at a press conference on Friday, Smith turned the focus away from his transfer future.

“I know there is an awful lot of speculation about Todd at the moment and there always is about good players,” said Smith.

Dean Smith before a Norwich City match

“He has been in a situation where when we arrived he had not been training with the first team for a while. So we had to build up his fitness and he is in a good place now.

“He is contention to play on Sunday [in the FA Cup at Charlton], but I don’t deal with the speculation, Stuart [Webber] does, so I don’t know is the honest answer.

“Hopefully he will be here still and playing well, because that is what we want from him. We know what we can do at this level and are working hard to get him back to that.”

Cantwell ‘certainly a talented footballer’

Todd Cantwell plays for Norwich

Smith reiterated the extent of the fitness issues Cantwell was dealing with earlier in the season. Now, though, he hopes to get him back on track, whatever the future holds.

“It has been frustrating, but I think it’s been frustrating for him as well,” added the Norwich boss.

“He wasn’t up to speed in the first couple of games we played [since I took over], but he is certainly getting there.

“He is working hard in training. We have had no problems with him in terms of attitude and application at all.

“It is about building his confidence up as well, which had taken a bit of a hit. But there is certainly a talented footballer there.”

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Smith supports under-fire Gilmour

Elsewhere in his press conference, Smith gave his backing to midfield loanee Billy Gilmour.

The Chelsea man was on the receiving end of some frustrations from supporters during their 3-0 loss to Crystal Palace in December, which was their most recent fixture.

Smith, though, sent a reminder of the starlet’s age when explaining why patience is required.

“I was disappointed with what I heard, not during the actual game but I had family members in the [away] stand,” said Smith.

“It was a minority, Billy knows that. Everybody within the dressing room and the training ground knows the value of Billy.

“Unfortunately a big expectation comes along with Billy and people have to remember he is 20.

“Stuff like that, it will hurt and there is no one I see tried more than Billy in wanting to get the ball and wanting to do well [against Palace].

“He is very well supported here, within the group with the players, the staff, and he will just keep working hard to get better.”