Liam Cullen | I want to hit the ground running this season
Swansea City striker Liam Cullen is determined to pick up where he left off as he looks to build on the best season of his career to date.
The academy graduate got off to a good start in 2022-23 scoring against Oxford United in the Carabao Cup, but his season really picked up after the World Cup break.
Cullen was on the pitch for just two minutes before rescuing a point against Coventry City at the CBS Arena with his first touch of the game, as the Swans came from 3-0 down to earn an unlikely draw.
He scored from off the bench in his next match against Reading, before being named in the starting line-up against Watford. He repaid the faith by setting one up and scoring another.
Between December 17 and January 14, he registered five goal involvements – four goals and one assist – in five games.
He went on to finish the season with nine goals and two assists, and is eager to kick on under new head coach Michael Duff.
“I think last season was a different perspective for me,” he explained.
“Now I’m on the back of scoring nine goals and receiving international call-ups so I just want to hit the ground running, pick up where I left off and hopefully I can start on a really positive note again this year.
“Individually and collectively, we need to get off to a good start. I think we were unbeaten in nine at the end of last season, so we’ve proven to ourselves that we can go and win games, compete and move up that table.
“So you just want to start well, carry that form on. At the moment though, we’re just looking to work hard, get as fit as we can and get used to the manager’s style so we’ll see where it takes us.”
And the Kilgetty product - whose showings for the Swans earned him his first senior Wales call-ups in March and June - acknowledges the boost in confidence he has got from delivering at Championship level.
“I hadn’t played too much until December so to get those goals and have that impact on those games was really good,” he said.
“It’s a massive confidence boost for anyone to go through a bit of form like that so it was a confidence booster for me first. Then I just got real match fitness and I felt like I was ready to go and do well at this level.
“I think that was the most important period where I could just kick on from there.
“Playing for this club every week, playing regularly since December and scoring goals; I think I say it all the time that the main thing for me is to be playing, scoring and doing well for this club.”
New head coach Duff is just days into his new role with the Swans in the midst of a week-long training camp in La Finca, Spain.
"But the 24-year-old is already excited about what the new boss can bring to the club.
“My first impressions of the gaffer have been really good, really positive,” he added.
“I think he’s started getting his ideas across early so we already know what he wants from us.
“It’s really important that we have that clarity early, especially in pre-season where you can start to put that work to use and nail down the fundamentals of what he wants.
“Pre-season is massive, not only to get to know him and his staff on the pitch, but also off it so we can build those relationships and get a feel for each other.
“I think off-field relationships are just as important as off-field, so hopefully we can put that together this week.”