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Dublin: 8 °C Wednesday 8 April, 2020

Ireland U21 captain seals season-long loan move to League One club

Josh Cullen has joined Lee Bowyer’s Charlton Athletic.

HIGHLY-RATED IRISH MIDFIELDER Josh Cullen will look to continue his career development in League One with Charlton Athletic this season, after securing a loan move from West Ham United.

Hull City v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet Championship - KCOM Stadium Cullen spent time on loan with Bolton last season. Source: EMPICS Sport

The 22-year-old, who was named Ireland’s U21 player of the year in 2017, moves to the Valley to link up with Lee Bowyer’s side for the 2018/19 campaign.

Cullen has made nine first-team appearances for West Ham since his debut in 2016, but with opportunities hard to come by at the Premier League club, has spent time on loan with Bradford City and Bolton Wanderers in recent seasons.

The English-born midfielder made over 60 appearances for Bradford between February 2016 and May 2017, and last season played 12 times for Bolton in the Championship during a five month-spell.

In moving to Charlton, he drops back down to League One but hopes regular game-time for the Addicks under the management of former Leeds and Newcastle midfielder Bowyer will help him progress further.

“Lee Bowyer was a central midfielder like myself so I felt that coming here would help me learn and develop myself as a player under a manager with the experience that he had with the qualities he had as a player as well,” he said.

“I’m really happy to be here and can’t wait to get started.”

Cullen was an unused substitute during West Ham’s EFL Cup victory over Wimbledon earlier this week, and Bowyer — who has been in caretaker charge since April — was keen to bring him to the south-east London club to boost Charlton’s promotion push. 

“He’s a very good player, good experience in this league and went to the Championship last season so we thought he was going to be out of our reach,” the Charlton boss said.

Josh Cullen Cullen in action for Ireland U21s. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“We had to just hang in there and bide our time and thankfully he’s chosen to come to us. I think he’s a great addition to the squad.

“He’s a very good player in and out of possession so he’ll be a good addition for us. I’ve always said I only want players that improve us, and he improves us.”

Cullen is due back on international duty next month when Ireland resume their European U21 Championship qualification campaign with games against Kosovo and Germany on 7 and 11 September.

After six games, Noel King’s side currently sit second in Group 5 and only trail leaders Germany by three points.

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Ryan Bailey

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