'Fake Paddy' Josh Cullen is a class act, reveals former teammate Sean Maguire
DUNDALK striker Sean Maguire used to tease his former team-mate at West Ham, teenage prospect Josh Cullen, that he was a "fake paddy".
But there's nothing fake about Cullen's talent in the eyes of Maguire, as Cullen (pictured) prepares to make his debut for the Irish U21 side against Qatar in a friendly in England tomorrow.
It's been a pretty busy few days for Southend native Cullen: last Saturday he made his Premier League debut for the Hammers, a rare Irish teenager in the English top flight.
On Tuesday he signed a new three-year contract with West Ham and was called into the Ireland U21 panel for games against Qatar (tomorrow) and Andorra (next Tuesday). Yesterday he hooked up with the U21 panel at their English base and tomorrow, by the homely surroundings of Gigg Lane in Bury, he will make his U21 debut.
"We will see a lot more of Josh in the next year or so. I lived in digs with Josh for a year so I know him well, he's a great lad and that makes his success even better as he really deserves it. No one deserves it more than him," says forward Maguire, who joined Dundalk after a spell with Cullen at West Ham.
"He's as Irish as could be now, there were a few Irish lads over there at the same time and we all hung around together.
"We used to tease him, call him a 'fake little Paddy', just to wind him up but he is fully on board with Ireland. Josh is an incredible player, he's very similar to Mark Noble but he's only 19 and has a long way to go."
Kilkenny native Maguire hopes to feature for the U21s against Qatar tomorrow but will come back home to join Dundalk for Saturday's league games against his former club Sligo Rovers.