BY MAX HALL
Josh Cullen says he is learning every day from training under Lee Bowyer at Charlton.
The on-loan Addicks ace insisted his aim is to break into the first team at parent club West Ham but told the South London Press he could never rule out a permanent move to Valley.
Describing the “massive” influence Charlton manager Bowyer and the club are having on his career, Cullen said: “Bows was one of the main reasons I joined Charlton in the first place. It’s easy to learn from a manager like that and, from when I joined last season up to now, I’ve loved playing under him.
“Every day in training, learning from him and getting little chats here and there, he’s given me pointers which I’ve thought is helping me improve so I’m loving my time at Charlton.
“Last season finished up just how I wanted it to and we’ve started decently enough this season.”
Midfielder Cullen has become a fixture of the side, playing every minute of every Championship match after having made a huge contribution to last season’s promotion-winning campaign.
“Every player wants to play,” said Cullen, “but I never think that I’m playing every minute of every game and I’m guaranteed to do that. We’ve got good competition in the squad so I know that I’ve got to keep performing in training and in games to keep the shirt, just as every other player in the starting XI does.
“It’s good to have the backing of the manager, and one you feel confident playing under and I’m sure all the lads feel like that.”
The Addicks got off to a flier in the Championship and that saw Cullen make his senior debut for Ireland in a friendly against Bulgaria. The midfielder said the squad are enjoying exceeding the pre-season expectations of pundits.
“We’ve been loving it,” said Cullen, “we’ve been relishing the challenge we’ve been having every week against top opposition.
“We’ve been pretty pleased with our start but we know it’s going to be a long, hard season.”
On the subject of his future, Cullen said he remains focused on his Hammers ambition. “I’ve said all along, I’ve had my fair share of loan spells now and I’ve always stated the end goal is to play for West Ham,” he said. “I’m striving for that and the only way I can do that is to keep playing for Charlton and performing well and hopefully I can catch the eye of people at West Ham.”
Asked about a possible move to The Valley, Cullen replied: “I don’t know. I can’t see my future there because I’m still on loan and I’m contracted to West Ham but football’s a strange game and you never know what’s going to happen. The plan has always been to get to the West Ham first team but things happen in football. Who knows?”