Lee Bowyer: Jonny Williams and Josh Cullen were playing U23 football before they signed for Charlton – look at them now

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

Lee Bowyer reckons the biggest plus of the international break was seeing Jonny Williams back in the senior set-up for Wales – and Josh Cullen starting for the Republic of Ireland.

Williams was a free agent this summer but re-signed for Charlton Athletic after an impressive loan spell in the second half of last season.

He started and starred for Wales in their 1-0 friendly win over Belarus.

Cullen was handed his senior debut by Mick McCarthy on Tuesday as beat Bulgaria 3-1 in a friendly in Dublin.

“The best thing to take out of the international break was that Jonny Williams went and played for Wales and as man of the match in their last game,” said Addicks boss Bowyer.

“That is great. He is such a nice fella and this time last year he was playing U23s for Palace. Now he is back in amongst it in his national side and playing well.

Republic of Ireland team shot. (Top row, left to right) Ronan Curtis, Cyrus Christie, Mark Travers, Conor Hourihane, John Egan and Kevin Long. (Bottom row, left to right) Alan Browne, Alan Judge, Josh Cullen, Callum O’Dowda and Scott Hogan prior to the beginning of the International Friendly at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin.

“Josh Cullen made his full debut and was man of the match as well. They are two lads who were just playing U23 football. They have been here, both improved and gone on to represent their country and get man of the match awards.

“I’m really chuffed for them. It makes me feel good because you’re doing the right things with players – they weren’t anywhere near it before. Now, all of a sudden, they have crept in there and are playing.

“Tom Lockyer go on [for Wales] the other day. Again that is a stepping stone for him, to get some minutes for Wales.”

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