A dream come true, says on-loan Hammer [video]

  • by Staff Writer
  • Wednesday, 11th September 2019

Josh Cullen was named Man of the Match for the Republic of Ireland as they beat Bulgaria 3-1 in Dublin.

Southend-born Cullen, who is spending a second-successive season on loan at Charlton in the Championship made his debut for Mick McCarthy's side and proved to be an instant hit as he picked up the award.

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"It's a dream come true," said Cullen during his post-match interview. "To get my debut, a win and Man of the Match - it doesn't come much better than that.

"I'm delighted, I'm over the moon. The gaffer named the team on Sunday so I had a couple of days to prepare for it. I've just been looking forward to it.

"I'm grateful to be playing regularly for Charlton - against good sides and for a good team. That will only stand me in good stead to get more caps for my country."

Cullen's performance was roundly praised by the Irish media, including RTE's Anthony Pyne. "There were no Hollywood moments for Cullen in a pretty dour contest," he wrote.

"Though he threatened with a brave header that looped over the Bulgarian bar, another recovery run down the left flank to poke the ball away from Wanderson was more emblematic of his evening. Routine, bread-and-butter midfield play.

"But that attitude will most definitely earn him brownie points in the manager's book.

"Cullen has lifted himself up the pecking order now. Up to now he's been a footnote in the unsavoury [Declan] Rice saga. He may yet emerge as a story in his own right."

The game was won by the Irish courtesy of goals from Alan Browne (56 minutes), Kevin Long (83) and James Collins (86). Bulgaria's consolation came from Ivelin Popov from the penalty spot.

You may view highlights of the match below.

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