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.
Other than Declan Rice there have not been too many graduates from the West Ham academy to make it in the first team in recent years, but Josh Cullen is proving his worth once again in his latest loan spell at Charlton.
It is only the second time the 23-year-old has experienced playing in the Championship but he has adjusted well so far, and has already shown his importance to the team.
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Many anticipated that the south London side would struggle following promotion, and having lost key players over the summer such as Joe Aribo, only making their first signing in mid-June when Macauley Bonne arrived.
Although Cullen hasn’t set the world alight in terms of goals and assists, recording none so far, he has kept the midfield ticking over for Bowyer and his absence would be very noticeable should he become unavailable.
That is vital to the way Charlton play and to how Bowyer sets up, often employing a narrow formation so far which requires Cullen to do a lot of running, tracking back to cover the opposition winger and help out his right-back.
It is such drive which should appeal to West Ham, and it is a role he could perform for the Hammers if he gets an opportunity upon his return.
Training with experienced pros like Noble and Jack Wilshere would likely teach him a great deal about the game, and his positional awareness and understanding could improve as a result.
At the moment he is playing well but it is vital he continues to progress. His lack of productivity in the final third is a concern as it means he is unlikely to put pressure on Manuel Pellegrini to push for a starting place, but an average of 1.4 key passes per game shows it is not for a lack of effort, and he is moving in the right direction.
Cullen looks likely to continue as a regular at Charlton and if he continues his current level of performance he should help his team to continue picking up points, and game by game could edge himself onto the Chilean’s radar.