Position: Centre Back
Date of Birth: March 9th 1991
Place of Birth: London, England
Previous Club(s): None
Encouraged to join Fulham instead of Chelsea by his family as a ten year-old, the decision reaped early benefits for Matthew Briggs in May of 2007. Aged 16 years and 65 days, the young centre-back made his professional and Premier League debut as a late substitute on the final day of the season against Middlesbrough, etching his name into the record books at the youngest player in English top flight history. It so far remains as his only appearance, but it most definitely won’t be his last.
A towering figure at the heart of defence, Briggs is an incredible athlete who started his career in midfield and could still do a regular job there if necessary. As with a number of young central defenders coming through in this generation, he is a very accomplished footballer, and very comfortable with a ball at his feet. He makes good decisions and his height gives him an advantage aerially. Being naturally left-footed, he can give balance to a defence, and also play at left-back should the situation arise.
As he continues to develop in the Reserves, and perhaps a loan spell, Briggs will be well on his way to pushing for a place in Fulham’s first team squad in the near future.
Due to Fulham’s fine form, based on a bedrock in defence of Aaron Hughes and Brede Hangeland, Briggs hasn’t been able to add to his single competitive appearance yet, but has been starring for Billy McKinlay’s Reserve team, and making strides for England’s youth teams, making the breakthrough to Under-19 level. Fulham’s bloated squad – much of which was acquired under Lawrie Sanchez – has meant an overflow of defenders to the second team, but Briggs has been able to hold a semi-regular place despite the presence of Fredrik Stoor, Adrian Leijer and Toni Kallio.