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Matthew Briggs gains praise from Hughes

last updated Saturday 13th November 2010, 11:40 AM
Fulham manager Mark Hughes
Fulham manager Mark Hughes
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Fulham Manager Mark Hughes has praised Matthew Briggs having seen the young defender make his first Premier League start on Wednesday evening.

The Manager joins a long list of admirers following the 19-year-old's impressive showing at Stamford Bridge, with the England U20 international's performance a positive on the night.

The Whites suffered an SW6 derby defeat, with Michael Essien's powerful header securing victory for the league leaders. However, Academy Graduate Briggs caught the eye with an assured and promising display after coming in for the injured Carlos Salcido.

Speaking to fulhamfc.com, Hughes said: "Matthew Briggs is a young player of great potential and we felt that now is the time for him to push on in terms of his development. And the game against Chelsea will have done much for that.

"Having lost Carlos I could have moved other senior players around, but for me, this was an opportunity to expose Matthew to top-flight football and see what he could do. I have to say that I thought he did very well.

Fulham defender Matthew Briggs
Fulham defender
Matthew Briggs
Matthew Briggs
"He has a lot of ability and has all the physical attributes that you look for in a player - ones that lend themselves well to Premier League football."

Having made his Fulham debut in May 2007, replacing Moritz Volz in a 3-1 defeat against Middlesbrough, Briggs became the Premier League's youngest ever player at 16 years and 65 days.

Despite being a regular England youth international, the youngster had to bide his time in making a second appearance for the Club, spending time out on loan at Leyton Orient last season to further his development.

Mark Hughes did give Briggs that chance in the 6-0 Carling Cup victory overf Port Vale in August, a game in which the left-back impressed again with his assurance and composure on the ball.

"The bottom line is, I thought he was ready," said Hughes. "He is training with the First Team on a regular basis and he has always done well in those sessions. We decided to throw him in, and he did well.

"On Wednesday he was up against arguably the best team in the Premier League. Okay, he had good, experienced players around him, and that certainly helped but that should take nothing away from how he played and he should be very proud."

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