IAN Holloway will watch video footage of Matthew Briggs’ best and worst career performances before deciding whether to offer the trialist a deal.
Left back Briggs has featured in two pre-season friendlies – against Dartford and Stevenage – since linking up with the Lions at the start of last week.
But Holloway admits he has not yet decided whether to sign the 23-year-old.
The Millwall boss cannot understand why the former England U21 international has so far failed to deliver on his undoubted potential – and is looking for answers.
“Briggs is growing on me but I still need to find out one or two bits about him because I only enter into relationships that I’m sure about,” Holloway said.
“When people try to change a relationship, I don’t like it because I’d never do that myself.
“I have got to make sure Briggs wants the same things as I do and that I can help him with whatever has stopped him from getting those things.
“If I bring someone to my club who might not start well and then cannot handle it, then I’m wasting my chairman’s money.
“I need to find out certain things because I cannot understand for the life of me, with his athleticism and his wonderful left foot, why Fulham dreamt of letting him go.
“At one stage he was in the England set-up so maybe now he doesn’t feel wanted or loved, but I can’t bring in people who can’t deal with that and who don’t fight back.
“I really like Scott Malone, so I’ve got to bring in someone who can push him and challenge him – but I don’t care who plays.
“I haven’t watched Briggs as much as I should have done so we’re going to watch some of his games – one good one and one scheisse-pants one that is his worst fear.
“I want to see why things haven’t worked out. I think he stands there in a game wondering if he’s playing well or not and you can’t let those thoughts in.
“Can I cure that? I won’t do anything if I can’t, but if I can we could have one hell of a player on our hands.”
Very astute from Holloway, there.
Here’s what I’d said to my Millwall supporting friend, Lewis:
He can come across as an absolute wally.
I remember in the youth teams he looked like a nice kid, but about 3 years ago he covered himself in tattoos and started posting silly photos of himself with his hat on backwards, etc. The phrase “wannabe” sprang to mind. There’s a Juliana Hatfield song that goes:
this is not an attitude
that looks very good on you
Briggs has stuck around as he’s been at Fulham forever but his appearances in the first team have been borderline horrendous. He has a nice left foot and is athletic but when played at left back he’s been skinned alive repeatedly. In fairness he only seemed to get pitched in against the big teams for some reason but he got absolutely blown away. He got loaned out and wasn’t used, iirc (Watford when they were on fire). Could make it as a wing back if not asked to defend maybe. He’s a weird one in that physically he’s quite big so you wonder if left back is the right role. He could be one of those who could be transformed into a centre-forward or something and be a revelation. The tools are there but he just comes across as being very laid back which isn’t a good trait when you can’t defend.
Without going all guardian part of it is probably a need to feel valued. Hodgson wouldn’t play young players, Hughes was here very briefly, and Jol was a bit troublesome (apparently told Briggs he was playing at Swansea away, Briggs’ family went down there and he wasn’t even in the squad.
So it’s not been ideal for him but he’s been awful when pressed into action.
It’s a very good left foot though and he’s quick and strong so you never know.
PS you’ll forgive me talking about players not here any more. It’s very hard to talk about players I’ve never seen before, and probably who I won’t see in the flesh. As you know, we left London a while ago now – a year and a bit – and I can’t get to/don’t want to go to games now with two small kids. Without actually being there to see people playing I’m not sure what value I can add so I’m not sure how much more I’ll be writing. Which is a shame as in many ways I think next season will be among the best in recent memory; certainly I’d have loved to still be living 5 miles from the Cottage at this moment.