West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini has shown himself to be someone who is willing to give youth a chance.
Throughout his time in east London he has made that extremely apparent. Declan Rice, Grady Diangana, Xande Silva, Ben Johnson; they have all been given varying degrees of involvement in the first team since the Chilean’s appointment.
One man who is clearly going to be given the opportunity to impress the Hammers boss is midfielder Josh Cullen. The club confirmed on their official website on Wednesday that the 23-year-old is part of the 23-man squad heading to the Far East for the Premier League Asia Trophy this pre season.
Pellegrini is dangling a big carrot in front of Cullen, and it is very much make or break time for the youngster. He enjoyed a phenomenal season on loan at Charlton Athletic last term, and has clearly done enough to intrigue the West Ham chief.
Cullen was part of the Addicks team who secured promotion back to the Championship under Lee Bowyer, scoring twice and grabbing seven assists in 35 games [Source: Transfermarkt].
Pellegrini was obviously impressed in some capacity, and equally so on the club’s training camp in Switzerland recently. Plus, the important thing for Cullen is that there is going to be an opportunity in central midfield at the London Stadium next campaign.
Veteran midfielders Carlos Sanchez and Pedro Obiang both made the trip to China, but it’s perfectly conceivable that Cullen could leapfrog them both in Pellegrini’s central midfield pecking order with a series of strong performances in pre season.
The young man has been given a make or break opportunity by his manager. Now we have to wait and see if he can take.