When West Ham United youngster Josh Cullen put in a man of the match performance against Juventus in 2016 the future looked bright.
But chances in the Hammers first team since have been few and far between.
With homegrown stars Delcan Rice and Mark Noble occupying the midfield berths – and boyhood West Ham fan Jack Wilshere in reserve – Cullen’s path to the Hammers squad has been blocked.
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Cullen career crossroads

On loan at Charlton, Cullen has starred last season and this.
And he showed he can operate at a higher level when he was awarded man of the match on his debut for the Republic of Ireland in their 3-1 win over Bulgaria last week.
At 23, though, Cullen can no longer be seen as a young emerging talent. His time is now and the clearest indication yet that he will leave West Ham has come from skipper Mark Noble.
Speaking in his latest column in The Evening Standard, Noble praised Cullen’s attitude and dedication.
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Noble praise but comments suggest future may we away from West Ham

He tipped his fellow academy graduate to have a ‘good career’ but stopped short of saying that will be at West Ham.
“Josh has something you can’t coach,” Noble said in The Evening Standard.
“He has that desire every day to improve. He’s a talented boy with a big heart and will enjoy a good career in football.
“It just shows you that if you’re prepared to back yourself and go out on loan, rather than staying in the comfort zone, you can do it.”
Of course Noble has no bearing over West Ham will decide to keep Cullen at the club.
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Fans must trust Pellegrini’s judgement

The Hammers are looking to break into the Premier League’s top six and win a cup. As a result blooding youngsters is becoming increasingly difficult as every game counts.

Cullen could well develop into a top central midfielder. West Ham fans – like any supporters – love seeing one of their own given a chance in the first team.

And if West Ham let him go they may end up regretting it.

But Manuel Pellegrini knows a player. And he knows what it takes to succeed at the top level. So if he deems that Cullen does not quite make the grade, he must be trusted.

It would be unfair on the player to keep him at the club when he has no chance of breaking into the first team as it will only stunt his career progression.

And judging by Noble’s glowing comments, the least Cullen deserves is a chance to be someone’s main man if it is not going to happen at West Ham.

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