Sunday 16 December 2018

'He was probably our best player' - West Ham boss David Moyes has high praise for young Ireland midfielder

Josh Cullen of West Ham United applauds the fans
Josh Cullen of West Ham United applauds the fans

Ireland Under-21 international Josh Cullen may have lost two teeth following an accidental kick to the face in West Ham's 0-0 FA Cup draw with Shrewsbury, but the midfielder turned in a fine performance for David Moyes' men.

Cullen's team-mate Declan Rice has been the one in the spotlight in recent weeks following a string of accomplished displays and while he was impressive again yesterday, it was Cullen who was the main talking point.

Cullen was at the receiving end of a boot to the face from Abu Ogogo late in the game and lost two teeth in the process.

English-born Cullen, who recently returned to the Hammers following a loan spell at Bolton, was given a rare start but he did not disappoint.

"Josh was probably our best player today," Moyes told the club's website. "Considering he's only just come back and we're getting to know him, he did well.

"He had two teeth knocked out and he's gone straight to A&E to see if they can save them."

Moyes was also angry at his side for lacking fight at the Montgomery Waters Meadow.

"I don't think we showed any quality and the biggest disappointment is I didn't think we showed enough steel," he said.

"When you come to places like this you have to show yourself physically, that you can battle and compete. I didn't think we did that at all and that was the worst thing about it."

Shrewsbury boss Paul Hurst, who has taken Town to second in Sky Bet League One, felt the hosts have had harder games in the league this season.

He said: "I've seen us do better but we haven't come up against individuals as good as today. It sounds silly but we've had tougher games and that's why I thought the game was there to be won.

"Wigan, Blackburn - we've got them to come in the next league fixture - are different types of games. I don't mean that as being disrespectful to West Ham but I really felt the game was there to be won.

"It's easier said than done, you score every chance when you're on the touchline, but nerves play a part.

"We wanted to make it uncomfortable. The danger is you have all the hype and build-up but then fall flat on your face. That didn't happen."

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