Fulham boss Martin Jol has given his full backing to left back Matthew Briggs, despite the recent arrival of John Arne Riise at Craven Cottage.

Briggs, who joined the Cottagers in 2006, was loaned out to Leyton Orient last year, but Jol has ruled out sending him off again after describing the 20-year-old as an exciting player.

"He is not like a talented boy, for me he is already there," he confirmed. "I think he's a good part of our squad and that is why I don't want to put him on loan somewhere - I want to keep him.

"I have seen him over the last couple of weeks and I think he could be an exciting player."

John Arne Riise, 30, joins from Roma with a wealth of Barclays Premier League football experience with Liverpool, but also knows European football inside out having played for Norwegian, Italian and French teams.

His continental experience will boost Fulham's Europa League campaign, which continues on Thursday 21. The Cottagers will hope to build on a 3-1 first leg lead over Northern Irish side Crusaders, and despite Jol's praise, Briggs looks bench-bound for the home fixture as Riise takes up his new role at the back.

Riise has recently claimed that his former club Liverpool wanted him to return to Anfield, as Kenny Dalglish's quest for a left back drags on.

But Martin Jol, 55, snapped up the player before the Reds could make an offer.


"Roma probably wanted to keep him but he wanted to come back to England," Jol continued. "He will play against Crusaders and he has only been here for five days. He played on Sunday, so he is a fit bugger!"

Riise, who is a regular in the Norwegian national team, has been taking the new Europa League challenge very seriously.

"When I knew I might be signing for Fulham I did 10 days of hard training on my own because I didn't want to be too far behind everyone else," he said.

"I'm really looking forward to it. We got to the final two years ago and if we can do the same it will be awesome. We'll just take it one game at a time."

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