I, like so many Fulham fans, was extremely impressed with young Matty Briggs on Thursday night. At left back he seemed very comfortable, especially with Hughes and Hangeland beside him to keep him right. He has good foot work and doesn’t dive needlessly into a tackle. His good foot work also contributes to him having a good bit of skill and flair, something that football fans love to see! His pace is also very useful for him when running up the line which is what he loves doing. Two questions need to be answered about him though; Should he be given the starting place more regularly and where should he be played- left back or left mid?
1) Should he be given the starting place more regularly?
Jol has already said that he wants to bring some of the younger guys up to the first squad and Briggs is likely to be one of the first he thinks of purely because he has already sort of made his break through. I really enjoyed watching him play last year. Who doesn’t love seeing somebody come through the ranks and into the first team? However the question is should he start more often. Currently in left back we have Salcido, Kelly and Briggs himself (Baird can also play here but I am going to assume that he will hold on to that right back spot). I was a bit surprised by the amount of criticism of our Mexican man last year. Salcido played well I thought, but he doesn’t seem to be happy in London so could move on soon. Kelly is a player who I don’t feel that confident about so would have Briggs above him in the pecking order. I think Jol should take a bit of a risk and start with Briggs in at least all of our Europa games. I would love to see him start in the league, especially as he did so well last year against the likes of Arsenal but Jol might favor experience over youth at the start of the league anyway. I say see how he does in Europe and then gradually bring him in for our PL games.
2) Left back or left mid?
Some people were asking this question but I think he should stick to left back. Besides, who would he play ahead of in midfield? He is a very attacking left back and that might worry some people as to whether or not he can get back if the opposition goes on the break. But I think that him being attacking will benefit our attack and here is why. If you have ever my pieces before you might know that I am a hockey player so I’ll use another hockey example here. As a right back, my primary objective is obviously to defend. However, I often find that I am often in the oppositions half rather than my own. The key is in the positioning! As long as I hold a good position when attacking then I can ensure that I don’t get caught out at the back. We are a solid defense and don’t leak many goals, rather like Fulham. My strength is that I can contribute significantly to the attack while still having good positioning so that I can defend. I have found that having an extra person in attack to provide an option can really stretch the opposition and therefore allow us to find gaps in the defense. This is exactly the same with Fulham with Briggs and Baird. As our wing backs, they should attack but not commit too much. As long as they remember their primary objective then they will ensure that they don’t leave our own defense too vulnerable.
I think he as a bright future at Fulham ahead of him and am extremely excited to see what he can do for us more often!