Liam Cullen | I've been working for this opportunity my whole life
Liam Cullen says he is delighted to have the chance to stake a claim for a first-team spot after years of working towards such an opportunity at Swansea City.
The young striker, who has been with the club since he was eight, stepped up to the senior environment on a full-time basis earlier this year following a blistering start to the season with the under-23s.
Tenby-born Cullen netted 17 times in 21 appearances for the development side, including a hat-trick against Middlesbrough and all four goals in a thumping victory over Everton in the Premier League International Cup.
The Wales Under-21 international’s efforts were rewarded with a new contract that will keep him at the club until the summer of 2022.
He then linked up with Steve Cooper’s first-team squad; appearing as a late substitute against Preston and Derby.
While he acknowledges there is still plenty of hard work to be done, Cullen is embracing the experience of being in the first-team environment on a daily basis.
“I’ve loved every second of it. I’ve learned a lot and I feel like I’m improving,” he said.
“I’ve worked my whole life to get to this environment.
“Obviously, I still have a long way to go because I need to break into the first team fully and try to play on a more regular basis, but it’s a start.
“Hopefully, I can kick on again, keep on improving in the future and try to prove myself as much as I can at this level.
“It’s natural for anyone in the game. Once you get a chance at first-team level, you only ever want more of it.
“I’ve definitely got that hunger and motivation to kick on more than I ever have.”
Having chanted the names of his heroes as a season ticket holder at the Liberty for many years, Cullen got to experience that for himself when he climbed off the bench away at Preston at the start of February.
The striker was lost for words after hearing the Jack Army sing his name and, once football is able to resume safely, he is understandably desperate to experience that on a more frequent basis.
“It’s one of the best feelings in the world, especially as I still am one of those fans,” he added.
“I’ve supported the club and sang the names of different players.
“When I came on at Preston and they were singing my name, it was surreal.
“I don’t think anyone will ever understand the feeling unless you’ve had it.
“Hopefully, it won’t be too long before I can experience that again; I can’t wait.”