Republic of Ireland U19 international Josh Cullen was happy to be back on familiar ground as West Ham United prepared for Thursday’s game against FC Lusitans.
Development Squad midfielder Cullen was part of the group who travelled to Cork for a week-long preparation camp for the UEFA Europa League qualifying campaign.
With a week’s training now under his belt, the 19-year-old is raring to go in front of what could be a sell-out Boleyn Ground crowd.
“It was nice to be over in Ireland,” he said. “Obviously I’ve played a few games over here internationally, so making that short flight is pretty regular now.
“It was good to be back and the facilities were good, the sun was shining and it was a productive week.
“Playing international football is always a great experience. We’ve had Elite Rounds in Germany and that stands you in good stead for something like the Europa League this year.
“If I get the nod in that, I’ve played against European opposition before so you sort of know what to expect.
“We have to look at these qualifying rounds as a great opportunity. All we can do is work hard on the training pitch with the new manager coming over, show what you can do and if you get an opportunity you have to take it with both hands.”
Cullen is delighted to have had the chance to train regularly with established first team players and says that will help him to take the next step in his career.
He added: “We’ve been playing with first team players day in, day out in training and that’s great. That brings you on as a player and can only help with your development.
“I was pleased with the progress I made last season. Getting on the bench at nice Premier League stadiums was a good experience and now it’s time to kick-on.
“I have to make sure I don’t take my foot off the pedal, keep going and take that next step to getting on the pitch.”