Republic of Ireland U21 midfielder Josh Cullen is ready to follow in Declan Rice's footsteps and make an impact in the Premier League after helping West Ham squeak past FA Cup underdogs Shrewsbury.

It's been a good month for the Essex-born 21-year-old. Having returned to London after a loan spell at Bolton Wanderers, David Moyes thrust the clever playmaker into the Hammers' third-round tie at the Shrews.

Cullen was his side's best player in a scoreless draw, returning to the field in the closing stages even after losing a tooth when taking a stray boot to the face.

West Ham made hard work of the replay on Tuesday but eventually overcame the League One outfit thanks to Reece Burke's terrific extra-time strike. 

Cullen played all 120 minutes of that tussle; now, he's hungry to add to the sole league appearance he's made in the famous claret and blue shirt, when he came on as a sub at Anfield in the Hammers' 3-0 defeat of Liverpool in April 2015.

Declan Rice has broken through at West Ham this season

"Pushing on in the Premier League is the aim," he told the club's website.

"I want to play for West Ham and going out on loan is about improving and developing to get that chance to play for West Han.

"I’m delighted to get two appearances under my belt, two starts, and it’s great to have that faith shown in me. I want to push on from here."

Martin O'Neill vowed to blood fresh talent after confirming he will stay on as Ireland boss earlier in the week.

"We've got a couple of friendly games coming up and I think that might just be the time to introduce some younger players who are pretty hungry. Let's see how that goes," he told FAI TV.

Cullen and Rice have yet to be capped at senior level, but both will surely be on the management team's radar ahead of the March friendly in Turkey.