Liam Cullen relieved after scoring maiden hat-trick
Swansea City Under-23s striker Liam Cullen says he is relieved after scoring his first hat-trick for the development side in their 5-1 rout of Middlesbrough.
The 20-year-old recorded a terrific treble as the young Swans swept aside Boro at Landore to move to within a point of the Premier League 2 Division Two play-off places.
For Cullen, it was his first for the development side, having previously bagged six braces at under-23 level.
The Tenby-born forward also went close to achieving the feat in the Premier League International Cup victory over Porto in September – only to be denied a third goal from the penalty spot.
Cullen, who has been with the Swans since he was eight, took his goal tally for the season to 11 – surpassing his total of 10 during the 2018-19 campaign.
And he is hopeful more will follow during the remainder of this term.
“It’s a bit of a relief to score my first hat-trick,” the striker said.
“There have been a few games when I’ve scored twice and been disappointed not to get it.
“I came close against Porto earlier this season, but for the penalty save.
“I knew it was coming and it was nice to finally get it.
“One of my aims coming into the season was to score as many goals as I can. I’m already on 11 by January so I just need to keep kicking on.
“I’m just concentrating on every chance I get and making sure I make the most of it.
“Hopefully, I can keep scoring goals and help the team get more points to help us climb that table.”
Cullen’s second goal of the day was the pick of the bunch, as he bent a fantastic 20-yard strike into the top corner – leaving Middlesbrough goalkeeper Sol Brynn clutching at thin air.
The textbook execution of that particular finish has become something of a trademark for the forward this season, having enjoyed similar strikes against PSV Eindhoven and West Ham earlier in the campaign.
And he feels he is reaping the rewards for extra hours spent on the training field at Fairwood.
“I work on my finishing day in day out. There aren’t many days when I don’t get a few balls out after training and practise different shots,” he added.
“That’s one I do practise quite often because I know that if I get a yard, it’s a good chance to get a shot away in and around the box because the goalkeeper doesn’t always expect it when you’re in tight spaces.
“I’m going to keep working hard on that one and, hopefully, I can keep sticking them away like that.”