Mark Hughes has praised Matthew Briggs following the Fulham youngster’s first Premier League start on Wednesday night.
The Fulham boss was impressed with the full back’s composed showing at Stamford Bridge after stepping in to replace the injured Carlos Salcido.
Hughes told Fulham’s official website: “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.
“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 over 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.”