West Ham midfielder Josh Cullen, who is currently out on loan at Charlton Athletic, has thoroughly impressed on international duty. The Republic of Ireland midfielder earned his first cap in a friendly against Bulgaria and won the man of the match award.
Now, the Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy, 60, has singled Cullen out for praise. He believes the 23-year-old is a ‘tough little sod’ and an excellent player. Could all these rave reviews start to change Manuel Pellegrini’s mind on the midfielder?
Mick McCarthy on Josh Cullen
Following the Republic of Ireland’s 3-1 win over Bulgaria, McCarthy faced the media and was asked about Cullen’s height. The diminutive midfielder stands at 5ft 9in tall, making him less of a physical threat, but that does not hold back his tenacity.
As reported by The Irish Sun, McCarthy responded: “Neither was Billy Bremner and Johnny Giles. I haven’t got reservations (about size) because he’s technically very good and a tough little sod. He puts his foot in and stands his ground. You wouldn’t think he’s a little fella that gets knocked around.
“He handles the ball particularly well. He’s got good legs and gets around the pitch. I’ve seen him play, he was excellent for Charlton last year, and has been excellent this year when I’ve seen him. He impressed in training in Portugal. He plays week-in, week-out and he’s got great fitness levels.”
Manuel Pellegrini faces Josh Cullen decision
McCarthy is the latest person to comment on just how good Cullen is. Lee Bowyer, ex-West Ham midfielder and current Charlton boss, is also a huge fan of the tough-tackling midfielder.
And Pellegrini has always given Cullen a chance to some extent – by including him in pre-season trips to Switzerland and China this summer. However, he felt another loan spell in the Championship was the most beneficial career choice.
Cullen is thriving at The Valley and he is doing all he can to convince West Ham to extend his contract. It might be the case that he is just not quite good enough to take the next leap and play Premier League football. But he might be worth a try. If not, I’m sure Charlton would love to sign him on a free transfer next summer.