LEO CULLEN HAS admitted criticism by Ireland manager Declan Kidney, among others, had an affect on his game.
Speaking in an interview with RTÉ Radio 1′s John Murray, he recalled his anger after Kidney suggested there were certain aspects of his game that needed to be improved.
While Cullen currently has a good relationship with Kidney, even captaining his Ireland side during some World Cup games, he described how the criticism he received at the time was taken badly.
“I was at a weak point at that moment and it confirmed more doubts,” he revealed.
Cullen has also been subjected to criticism by others over the course of his career, including Eddie O’Sullivan – who left him out of the 2007 World Cup squad – and George Hook.
However, he indicated he was not overly downhearted by such remarks, describing how “as a player, you’ve got to back yourself” and insisting that: “I try not to look back too much.”
In addition, on the subject of his inevitable retirement a few years from now, he was relatively upbeat:
“You have to look to the future with excitement. And you have to remember that playing is hard as well. Sometimes the nerves are eating you alive, but it’s good to have that anxiety.”
Cullen was speaking following the launch of his new book, ‘A Captain’s Story,’ which looks at Leinster’s 2010-2011 Heineken Cup-winning season in diary form.