Late last year, Matthew Briggs was forwarded an email from the football federation of Guyana, the country he’d only started captaining in the summer. The email had zig-zagged across the world, having been written in Zurich and sent to Georgetown, Guyana’s capital. It was then dispatched back towards the south of England, where Briggs — who was once the youngest player in Fulham’s history — currently lives.
Briggs has an Android phone. He is not tech-savvy by his own admission and for some reason, this meant he initially struggled to access the link. “It was an invitation to vote for the FIFA Men’s Player of the Year for 2021,” he remembers. “To be honest, when I realised I couldn’t work the link I decided to leave it — I couldn’t be bothered with all the messing around.”
When he was prompted to complete the forms, however, he looked at it again. “I didn’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about my decision,” he admits. “It was pretty easy for me. Mo Salah had to be number one.”
Briggs was one of only 17 national team captains to vote for the Egyptian, who came third in the final standings behind Robert Lewandowski and Lionel Messi. Two of those votes came from team-mates at Liverpool, with Netherlands’ Virgil van Dijk and Scotland’s Andy Robertson also placing him first.