Josh Cullen admitted his decision to leave West Ham United for Anderlecht was a difficult one, but a lack of regular first-team football at the London Stadium made up his mind, while speaking to DH Net.
Grady Diangana was not the only highly-rated academy graduate to leave West Ham in rather contentious circumstances during the summer transfer window.
Hammers boss David Moyes spoke warmly about midfielder Cullen during his first spell at the club.
And the Standard reported that, once the Scot had returned to replace Manuel Pellegrini 12 months ago, Cullen was expected to be offered a first-team role in the Premier League.
There were plenty of eyebrows raised, then, when the Republic of Ireland international was putting pen to paper with Anderlecht, linking up with the Belgian giants in a deal worth around £800,000 over the summer.
With Cullen set to turn 25 before the end of the season, he obviously felt that he could not afford to spend an important year of his career stuck on the fringes of Moyes’ squad.
“Choosing to leave West Ham for good a few weeks ago was not easy, but it had to be done at the age of 24,” Cullen explained.
“I spent 15 years of my life there and there is bound to be a little sadness leaving. Why didn’t I break through there? Frankly, I don’t know. You should ask the different managers.
“When the opportunity to sign for Anderlecht presented itself, I was very flattered. It is a club with tradition that still has a lot of ambition.”
Cullen has started just three out of a possible seven Jupiler League matches at an Anderlecht side who continue to underwhelm under Vincent Kompany.
Yet it is hard to imagine the former Charlton loanee featuring regularly at West Ham, with Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek two of the Premier League’s most in-form midfielders.