The 23-year-old was Man of the Match against Bulgaria for the Republic of Ireland over the international break, and Noble was very happy for him. But did he subtly hint at Cullen’s London Stadium exit?
“I was so pleased, as well, that Josh Cullen, who is on loan at Charlton from West Ham, was man-of-the-match for the Republic of Ireland against Bulgaria,” he wrote in his Evening Standard column.
“Josh has something you can’t coach. He has that desire every day to improve. He’s a talented boy with a big heart and will enjoy a good career in football.”
It’s that last sentence from Noble that perhaps hints at Cullen leaving the Hammers next summer. The youngster’s current contract is up then [Source: Spotrac], and he was sent on loan to Championship side Charlton Athletic for the second campaign in a row after failing to impress Manuel Pellegrini over the course of pre season. That in and of itself is an indication that he might be let go come the summer, but the fact that Noble decided to write ‘a good career in football’ rather than ‘a good career at West Ham’ is very telling. Simply put, if the skipper thought that Cullen would be staying in east London long-term then he would say that he’s going to be a big player for the Irons moving forward. But he didn’t say that, he said a good career IN FOOTBALL. Cullen probably will go on and do well at a lower level, or perhaps even in the Premier League in the future. However, everything at the moment is indicating that he won’t make the grade at West Ham.