Matthew Briggs admits that things have not progressed as swiftly as he might have imagined after being handed his Fulham debut at just 16, but wants to make up for lost time this season.

The young left back impressed on a few outings in the first-team last year, having had to wait since 2007 to build on his debut against Middlesbrough, and has been a regular in the Europa League under new boss Martin Jol. Briggs scored his first goal for the club against Crusaders and, although John Arne Riise is likely to start the season at left back, is confident that he can continue to make an impression at Craven Cottage.

It’s true, things probably haven’t gone as I thought they would. As a result, there were times when I didn’t really feel part of things.

Although I was in and around the senior squad, it’s not until you get a regular run of games that you fully understand what it is like. But I do feel part of the set-up now – I feel like a professional footballer.

Every player wants to be out there wearing the shirt of his team and I’m no different. It has been frustrating, but I can’t think about that now.

I’d rather just concentrate on playing football and the situation that I currently find myself in. I’ve always wanted to play football for a living and if I am to make that dream come true then I have to keep working.

I could have let my head drop, but the moment you allow that to happen is the moment the dream can slip away. I’ve just got on with it and tried to improve as much as I can, working on every aspect of my game. I do feel like I have come a long way, but that said, there’s still a lot more that I need to do and I will continue to chase that dream.

Briggs believes he can kick on under the guidance of the new Fulham manager.

I’m 20 years of age now and although that is still young, I’ve been training with the first team for a while now. I like to think that I have the talent, and now it’s up to me to turn my potential into the real thing.

I’m getting the experience now and it looks like I’m in the manager’s thoughts, which is very pleasing. He’s raised the bar and hopefully I can make the jump. He’s certainly given the younger players a lift and the chance is there for us.

To be working with my fourth manager is hard because it’s been a case of building myself up again and starting from scratch. The last manager [Mark Hughes] brought me into the team and when he left I didn’t know if the opportunity would come again. But when I heard that Martin Jol was arriving I was really excited because I had been told that he liked giving young players an opportunity – and that seems to be the case