It has been nearly a year since Matthew Briggs name was everywhere but this time it was not for the records he had set but for the record of his that had been broken.
On 4 May 2019, Briggs’ record as the Premier League youngest player was broken by Harvey Elliot. It had stood for nearly 12 years but of course it would have to be another Fulham player who would take the record.
When his record was broken, Briggs had just completed the season with Isthmian League side Maldon & Tiptree where he had won the club’s Player of the Year award. However there bigger adventures ahead.
A few months later, the former Fulham man signed deal to join Danish side HB Køge, agreeing a one-year deal with the second-tier club.
Since his debut for the Cottagers in 2007 against Middlesbrough, the defender had played in all four top tiers of English football and in non-league but he had yet to sign for a club outside of England. However, he did have experience of playing abroad, having made 12 appearances in the Europa League for Fulham and even further afield whilst playing for Guyana, who he has represented on 10 occasions.
He had been a part of the Fulham first team squad for eight seasons by the time he left the club in 2014 and now five years later, he was heading to Denmark.
On signing for Køge, Briggs linked up with compatriot Jubril Adedeji, the former Watford youngster who was looking for a breakout year after a handful of appearances the previous season. You can read more about Adedeji here.
Whilst in Denmark, Briggs was a regular for his side, making 15 appearances in all competitions for the club before the winter break. He starred for the team as a centre-back, having come through the academy at Fulham as a left-back.
The 29-year-old has now returned to England and made an appearance for National League South side Dartford before football in the country was halted.
I got the chance to ask Matthew a few questions about what life was like playing abroad.
English Players Abroad: The move to Denmark came about last summer, how did that happen and had you always wanted to play abroad? Did playing in the Europa League for Fulham give you a taste of what it might be like?
Matthew Briggs: The move came around last summer following playing in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the States for Guyana where we played against the USA, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago. I had a good tournament and our sponsor Capelli also sponsor HB Køge who were really impressed with me and looking for a centre-back.
Yes I had always interested in playing abroad to experience something different and a new challenge. Playing in the Europa league did give me a taste of what it would be like because the style of play is different to how we play in England.
EPA: Did you find it easy to settle in Denmark, what was the lifestyle like?
MB: I found it very easy settling into the team in Denmark, the boys were very welcoming and I got on well with them and they all spoke good English, which helped a lot. The lifestyle was quite similar to England, to be fair.
EPA: You featured regularly for Køge, what did you think of the standard in the Danish second-tier compared to what you’ve played in England?
MB: Yes I played every game and was a key player for HB Køge. I thought the standard was very good and it’s a lot more technical compared to England which suits my style of play as some teams in England may call it risky football when playing out from the back.
EPA: You played alongside fellow Englihsman Jubril Adedeji in Denmark, did you get on well with him?
MB: Yes I played with jubril and I actually shared a house with him. We got on really well, he is a good lad and he is a very good young player with a lot of talent and potential and if he keeps his head down and keeps working hard I have no doubt he will be a great player.
EPA: What made you come back from Denmark and have another crack at English football?
MB: Well I wasn’t planning to come back to England quite so soon to be honest, I have a family and there was an agreement to bring my missus a kids over after winter break but that wasn’t fulfilled so I parted ways with Køge and returned to England where I expect to get back into the leagues in the UK when this lock down is over.
EPA: Finally, how much have you enjoyed playing internationally for Guyana? Is that something you want to continue doing?
MB: I really enjoy playing international football for Guyana, it’s always been my dream to represent my country and I will continue to do so until I can’t anymore.
Thanks very much to Matthew for the Q&A, you can follow him on Instagram here.