JOSH Cullen’s PE teacher at St Thomas More School has spoken of his pride at seeing the youngster make his Premier League debut for West Ham United.

The 19-year-old midfielder, who is an Irish youth international, was an injury-time replacement for Diafra Sakho in the Hammers’ 3-0 win at Liverpool on Saturday.

And Eamonn Kearney, who taught Cullen during his time at the Westcliff school, was thrilled to see the youngster work his way onto the pitch.

“We were delighted when we heard he got on at Anfield,” said Kearney.

“We have been following his progress closely since he left us. From winning West Ham’s academy player of year, to his Ireland call up, to making the first team squad and to now making his debut. It makes us prouder each time.

“We’re so happy for him.”

Cullen, who also lined up for the Hammers in the Europa League at the start of the season, has now signed a three-year contract to extend his spell at Upton Park.

And Kearney believes the talented teenager fully deserves the success coming his way.

“Josh was excellent at school,” said Kearney. “He worked hard in everything he did and was a real Tommy More boy.

“He kept himself grounded and with an attitude like that he always had the potential to do well.”

“He came to us with great technical ability and understanding to do the right things at the right time in a game.

“He was part of an excellent side that dominated local school football.

“I vividly remember Josh scoring a late winner in one of the cup finals we had.”

Cullen’s talents were spotted by the Hammers who signed him as a schoolboy.

Kearney has continued to keep tabs on the Southend-born midfielder – who will team up with Republic of Ireland’s under-21 team for the first time this week – since he left St Thomas More.

“We were aware of the progress Josh was making at West Ham from the reports they sent us and having represented his national team at youth level, we knew there was a chance Josh would continue his development,” said Kearney.

“We’re still in contact with him and see him throughout the year and is younger brother is in Year 11 at the school, so we always get to find out what he’s been up to and we continue to wish him all the very best.”