Cullen rewarded with new contract

Promising Academy graduate Josh Cullen has been rewarded with a new long-term contract by West Ham United
West Ham United are delighted to announce that teenage midfielder Josh Cullen has signed a new long-term contract with the Club.
The Hammers youngster, who made his Barclays Premier League debut in Saturday’s 3-0 win at Liverpool, has been rewarded for the immense promise he has shown.
Cullen, who will join up with the Republic of Ireland U21 squad for the first time this week, also featured in the UEFA Europa League qualifying rounds and will hope to earn more first-team appearances over the weeks, months and years to come.
"I'm delighted to get the deal done and extend my time at West Ham," said Cullen, who turned 19 in April and has now committed his future to West Ham until 2018. I'm over the moon to get another couple of years and I'm looking forward to the Club moving forward and hopefully progressing to the first team.

"The last couple of months have all gone quite quickly and I've had to take step back to take it all in. Obviously playing in the Europa League was a great experience, playing in front of a packed Upton Park was a special moment.

"Then going on at Anfield [for my Premier League debut] on Saturday was another moment that I'll remember for the rest of my life.

"The whole of the last couple of months have been fantastic and I just hope that it can continue.

"I've just got to take it week-by-week, day-by-day as it comes. I've got to keep working hard, impress the manager playing for the Under-21s and hopefully I can get more first team opportunities."
An all-action central midfield player who was born and raised in the Essex resort of Southend-on-Sea, Cullen joined the Academy of Football as a schoolboy and totalled 43 league and cup appearances for the U18s over two seasons between 2012 and 2014, scoring once.
Cullen’s displays saw him win the Dylan Tombides Award for being the Academy's outstanding player for the 2013/14 season – a campaign in which he also amassed ten U21 appearances and one goal.
Capped by England at U16 level before switching his international allegiance to the Republic of Ireland in early 2014, Cullen made his Ireland debut at U18 level in a friendly double-header with Czech Republic in April 2014.
Three months later, he appeared in the West Ham first-team's 2-2 pre-season friendly draw at Stevenage.
After making his Republic of Ireland U19 debut in a 1-0 friendly win over the Netherlands in September 2014, Cullen enjoyed a breakthrough 2014/15 season when he starred for the Hammers Development Squad and was named on the first-team substitutes’ bench on a number of occasions.
In July this year, he made his senior West Ham debut in the UEFA Europa League first qualifying round against Andorran side FC Lusitans, before starting again in Romania against Astra Giurgiu.
Having now been handed a Barclays Premier League bow at Anfield and a new long-term deal, it is hoped Cullen – likened by many to Mark Noble in playing style and attitude – will continue to go from strength to strength in a Claret and Blue shirt.