This article is part of Football FanCast’s Loan Watch series, which takes a closer look at those players who are aiming to galvanise their careers away from the spotlight of their parent club.
There has been plenty of talk surrounding Grady Diangana and whether West Ham United will recall him from West Bromwich Albion in January.
When Manuel Pellegrini was speaking about the 21-year-old, he dropped in a compliment about his fellow academy graduate Josh Cullen, as quoted by the club’s official channels: “I think that Grady Diangana is doing what we wanted for him, the same as Josh Cullen, players that without any doubt will be a big part of West Ham in the future.”
This comment is interesting, especially in regard to the Republic of Ireland international, due to the fact that his current deal at London Stadium is set to come to an end in the summer of 2020.
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When he was loaned out to Charlton Athletic, it felt as though the 23-year-old was being given little chance to prove that he should play in claret and blue, but this indicates he has done enough at The Valley to force his way into the manager’s thinking.
So far this season, Cullen has made 15 Championship starts, scoring 1 goal and assisting once – with his strike coming from an emphatically converted penalty to earn a draw against Diangana’s West Brom.
He has made an impact all over the pitch throughout the campaign, as indicated by the statistics shown above; indeed, it would be fair to describe him as an all-action midfielder.
What will also be encouraging is that the academy graduate has never given up on the idea of making it into the Hammers’ first-team, as he was quoted by The South London Press (via London News online) stating: “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.
“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.”
The 23-year-old will have also helped himself with his showing on the international stage, having earned the Man of the Match award and plaudits of Mick McCarthy on his Republic of Ireland debut in September, as reported by The 42: “Ultimately the result pleased me. There were some really good performances. Josh Cullen deserved the man of the match, he was excellent.”
This is now Cullen’s fifth loan move away from West Ham and he will surely be hoping this is the one that finally allows him to force his way into the club’s first-team plans.