Portsmouth transfer news: What Blues fans would have learned from Swansea striker Liam Cullen’s performance in FA Cup defeat to arch-rivals Southampton

Pompey target Liam Cullen was given a rare outing on Saturday when Swansea hosted the Blues’ arch-rivals Southampton.

By Sam Cox
Monday, 10th January 2022, 4:55 am

Russell Martin’s squad has been dismantled by surging Covid cases in recent weeks, as a number of their league fixtures were postponed.

And due to a thread-bare squad on the weekend, the 22-year-old played 85 minutes of the eventual 3-2 defeat in the FA Cup.

Cullen’s inclusion in the starting XI was his first from the off since a 3-1 defeat in the Championship to Preston in late August.

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But there were a number of positives to take from his performance against Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.

The first thing to gauge from his appearance at the Swansea.com Stadium was his position on the pitch.

In Martin’s 4-3-3 formation, the youngster was deployed on the right-hand-side of the frontline, with Joe Piroe the sole striker.

Which may come as a slight concern for Pompey fans and Danny Cowley – who is actively seeking an out-and-out hitman in January after Ellis Harrison’s departure.

Pompey target Liam Cullen featured for 85 minutes against the Blues' arch-rivals Southampton in the FA Cup for Swansea. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

On the other hand, by fielding as a more conventional winger against the Saints, his lightning-pace was on show.

Cullen would often look to force Romain Perraud into one-v-one duels before driving down the wing and looking to provide.

However, his inexperience against a Premier League side was also reflected on occasion, by wasting a couple of ‘overload’ situations Swansea could have benefitted from.

At five foot, eight inches, the Swans academy graduate may also go against the stereotypical striker the Blues head coach has been courting.

After a fruitless summer pursuit of Jayden Stockley and the south coast club’s admiration of Kyle Wootton, signs were suggesting they were searching for a ‘target-man’ figure.

But following his display two days ago, it’s clear Cullen is the type of player who looks to exploit runs down the channel and test defender’s ability with their feet – rather than roughing up opposition in the air.

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