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Josh Cullen: We have to go and...

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Josh Cullen: We have to go and win against Luxembourg on Saturday


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Josh Cullen says positives have been taken from the Republic of Ireland's defeat to Serbia, but concedes Saturday's meeting with Luxembourg is a 'must win'.

The 24-year old made his first competitive start at international level in Wednesday night's 3-2 loss in Belgrade.

Cullen's presence in the starting XI surprised some, but his performance left many in no doubt of his abilities as the anchor of the midfield.

However, Ireland have gone nine games without a win under Stephen Kenny rendering Saturday's game with Luxembourg crucial to the side's World Cup hopes, and the standing of the manager.

"Of course, we have to now go and win on Saturday," Cullen said, "It makes it a very important game, we know that.

"But I think we can take some positives from the performance [v Serbia] and head into that game with some confidence.

"We know that when you're playing these type of games, the majority of them are must-win games. To qualify for a World Cup you must be winning games.

"So whether we'd won, drawn or lost [v Serbia] we would be going into Saturday needing to win, so nothing changes there.

"We just look to have a couple of good days now building into the game on Saturday, and go in with confidence with some of the positives from Serbia."

Having come up through West Ham's youth ranks, Cullen looked set to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Mark Noble, Joe Cole and Frank Lampard in their progress to the first team.

Despite successful loans to Bolton and Charlton, a significant breakthrough at the Hammers never came.

In October, Cullen packed his bags and headed for Belgium, signing for Anderlecht.

"Any player needs to be playing games to improve and show what they can do, and what they're about I suppose," Cullen said of his move.

"To move to a massive club like Anderlecht and experience a different league, and a different style of football I suppose, has been beneficial for me I feel.

"The most important thing for any player is to be playing games, and I've been doing that at Anderlecht.

"I've felt in pretty good shape myself, so it's been a pretty good start so far."

Cullen revealed the time spent working in the new 3-4-1-2 formation was minimal given the time constraints ahead of the Serbia game.

He could not divulge whether Kenny will continue with the system, against a side Ireland are expected to beat on Saturday.

Asked what Ireland can take from the Serbia defeat, Cullen responded, "We restricted Serbia to only a few chances, and they were very clinical to be fair to them.

"I thought some of our build-up play from the back was good. And I think we were a threat.

"When we got into good areas with Brownie [Alan Browne] in the 10 [position], and Robbie [Brady] when he came on, I think there were chances there for us, and at times we were good in possession.

"By no means are we getting carried away with the performance, thinking that 'we're there', but I think there's things that we can look at and analyse and say 'yeah, we did certain things well'.

"And I'm sure there'll be plenty of things we can look at, and know that there's a lot to work on as well.

"We just need to analyse the game and look at the things we did well, and we didn't do so well."

John Giles remembers late pal Peter Lorimer with great ’72 Cup story


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Josh Cullen Luxembourg Qatar 2022 Republic Of Ireland Serbia Stephen Kenny

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