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Josh Cullen - it surely must be time to see the youngster step up?

Filed: Thursday, 8th March 2018
By: Staff Writer #3

Whilst relegation looks unlikely this season, the spectre does still loom large over the Hammers. You would imagine there is enough quality in the squad to ensure another year at the top table, but fans need something exciting to cling to. That might just be where young Josh Cullen steps up.

Cullen is an exciting home-grown midfielder, recently returned from a loan spell at Bolton Wanderers. He burst onto the scene in the Europa League qualifying rounds of 2015, following that up with a late appearance as a sub against Liverpool in the league. To date, that is his only Premier League outing.

A loan spell at Bradford City proved very fruitful, not least for the Bantams. He made 15 starts in league and cup, helping to propel them to the League One play off semi finals. They lost their two-legged affair against the Hammers' bitter rivals Millwall, but Cullen played in both matches.

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After that, it was back to Bradford again; this time on a season long loan. Once again, he was a staple of their side, this time starting 44 games in league and cup. His strong performances, always hard but fair, won him many fans in West Yorkshire. As a combative midfielder he only picked up four bookings, a testament to his guile and craft in the centre of the park. He was fouled 105 times in their league campaign, almost 30 more than the next nearest player, targetted for the threat he carried.

At the end of the season, Bradford suffered the same outcome. They reached the play offs, only to lose to Millwall, this time in the showpiece final. Cullen played all 270 minutes, showing increased maturity and ability to cope with pressure. These are perhaps the sort of qualities David Moyes needs to see in a Hammers shirt right now, especially if they're to avoid a battle against the drop.

This season, Cullen was out on loan again - this time at Bolton Wanderers in the Championship, themselves embroiled in a relegation battle. From two seasons at the top of the table, Cullen has now featured for two clubs at the wrong end. Bolton are just behind Burton, Sunderland and Birmingham in the betting for dropping into League One, but Cullen won't be a part of that battle.

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He rejoined West Ham in January and made has three FA Cup appearances since. His parent club aren't enjoying the best of spells either, and offers like Paddy Power's 20 risk-free bet will come as comfort to West Ham backers who like bet on football with leading bookmakers.

David Moyes recently told local press that he would have no hesitation in putting Cullen on: "He has been on the road for a year and he wanted to stay. We like him, he's a level headed young player and I would have no fear in putting him on." That sentiment may be impressive, but he is only echoing the desire of many West Ham fans.

The general consensus is that the young player has earned his stripes out on the road and it is about time he found himself in first team contention. In the aftermath of West Ham's humiliating 4-1 defeat at Swansea, calls heightened for Cullen to get his chance. David Moyes has taken the first step in keeping him at the club despite Bolton wanting to extend the loan., will he now take the next step and blood him in a struggling first team?

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

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