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Dublin: 13°C Saturday 19 September 2020

Cullen targets West Ham place after receiving first Ireland senior call-up

The 22-year-old, who’s on loan at Charlton Athletic, is contracted to West Ham until the summer of 2020.

JOSH CULLEN IS hoping to play a part in sealing promotion to the Championship for Charlton Athletic. However, the midfielder doesn’t intend to stick around for the club’s prospective return to the second tier of English football after a three-year absence.

Josh Cullen Josh Cullen training with the Ireland senior squad recently. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Cullen has had an impressive campaign for Lee Bowyer’s side, who he joined on a season-long loan from West Ham United back in August. Since recovering from a shoulder injury in January, the ex-Ireland U21 captain hasn’t missed a minute of league action.

Automatic promotion is likely to be out of reach for Charlton, but they’re well on course to secure a play-off spot with seven League One fixtures left to play. Cullen says he’s determined to finish the job, although his long-term objectives are tied up elsewhere in London.

“I’ve always said I want to break into the West Ham first-team,” he told local media. “I’ve really enjoyed my time here [at Charlton] from the start. Everyone’s been brilliant to me since I’ve joined. We’re on a decent run at the minute, which makes it even more enjoyable.

“But all over my loans, I’ve been trying to improve as a player to try and eventually get back into West Ham’s first-team. That’s the long-term goal. The short-term goal is to give everything for Charlton, finish the season strongly and hopefully achieve promotion.”

London-born Cullen, who qualifies to play for Ireland via his paternal grandparents, has been on West Ham’s books since the age of nine. At 19, he made the first of nine senior appearances to date as a substitute in a 3-0 Premier League win over Liverpool at Anfield in August 2015.

Charlton Athletic v Bradford City - Sky Bet League One - The Valley Cullen playing against Bradford City last weekend. Source: Mark Kerton

Now 22, he has also experienced temporary spells at Bradford City and Bolton Wanderers. This season he was loaned out to Charlton, where his form earned him a first senior Republic of Ireland call-up for last month’s games against Gibraltar and Georgia.

Cullen, who is contracted to West Ham until the summer of 2020, was summoned by Ireland boss Mick McCarthy — along with Burnley’s Kevin Long — to compensate for injured duo Alan Browne and Ronan Curtis. 

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“To play in the Premier League at the highest level is what every footballer wants to achieve, so I’ll go back there [to West Ham] in the summer, crack on in pre-season and then see what happens,” he added.  

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