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Fulham star Briggs returns to football roots

last updated Saturday 09th May 2009, 10:05 AM

Fulham defender Matthew Briggs
Fulham defender
Matthew Briggs
Fulham teenager Matthew Briggs has delighted former club Wandle Wanderers by donating £150 worth of prize money to his old team.

The 18-year-old centre-back, runner- up in Wandsworth’s sports personality of the year awards, donated the money to the club which gave him his first footballing platform.

England U19 international Briggs said: “They have done so much for me since I was nine years old so it was great to give something back to the place where I started out.

“I try to be a good role model on and off the pitch and I enjoy passing on advice to the kids and stuff when I am down there.”

Former mentor Sonny Storrie said Briggs, who became the youngest Premier League player when he made his Fulham debut, was an inspiration to Wandle Wanderers’ young players.

“It is great for the Wanderers to get a donation like this,” he said.

“We are a voluntary run club and it will go straight into getting some new kits for our six to seven year old team.

“Although he is still a young lad he is a figurehead to our boys. He comes down and gives advice and it is great to have role models like that.

“Matthew is a great kid and, in my opinion, can go as far as he wants.”

Proud mum Dawn insists Briggs will never forget his roots. She said: “It inspires the boys at Wandle to see Matthew.

“When he went down there they were asking him all sorts of questions and he enjoys talking to them.

“He puts in so much work in every aspect, including education, and he takes everything in his stride.

“He has worked so hard to be where he is now and he doesn’t want to let that go.

“It is a great endorsement for Sonny as well as he is so dedicated to the club.

“Everyone Matthew meets gets on with him and even his old headmistress has a picture of him on her wall.”

Briggs has still to add to his single first-team appearance, as a 77th minute subsitute for Moritz Volz, in a 3-1 defeat at Middlesbrough two years ago this week.

He was 16 years 65 days when he made that appearance, and academy director Hugh Jennings said the target was to push Briggs into Roy Hodgson’s first-team plans.

“We hope, over time, that Matthew will make a significant impact at the clu,b but he has had difficulties with injuries and loss of form,” said Jennings.

“It is our job to work with Matthew and when he is ready to make an impact Roy will discuss that with us and hopefully we will have a player that is ready for him.”

Briggs is relishing the challenge. He said: “It has been amazing so far and a great experience,” he said.

“It is a big step up in terms of training, etc but, I love rising to the challenge.”

Source Andrew Bloss at The Guardian
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