Northern Irish centre back Josh Briggs, who plays for West Ham’s U18 side, recently spoke to the club’s official website about his career to date and the progression he has made since joining the Hammers in 2022.

Briggs is one of a number of Northern Irish youngsters who have made the switch from the NIFL Premiership to signing professional terms with West Ham in recent years, following the likes of Sean Moore, Callum Marshall, Michael Forbes and Patrick Kelly.

His career began with Greenisland FC before he was scouted by Linfield, a team who play in the NIFL Premiership, the highest division in the Northern Irish Football League.

Briggs would go on to make his debut for Linfield’s reserve side at just 15 years old. Speaking about this experience Briggs told the club’s website: “I was playing against men at 15.” Going on to add: “We played the first team at one point in a friendly too, which was the first time I played for Linfield. I was 15, and it was mad.”

The youngster’s performances in the NIFL Premiership caught the attention of West Ham’s scouting team and in 2022 Briggs signed a two year scholarship with the Hammers. His first year in East London was a great success, he was a part of a league title win, an FA Youth cup win and also scored at the Emirates.

Speaking on his first year at the club Briggs said: “I didn’t play as much as I would have liked because I was a first year. The highlight from my first year was the FA Youth Cup final.”

The Northern Irish U19’s international signed his first professional contract with the club last month, since joining West Ham he has made 35 appearances for the club’s U18 side. This season he has made his first couple of appearances for the U21’s and he will certainly be hoping their is more game time to come for Steve Potts’ side as he attempts to build on his displays with the U18’s and make that step up to the next level.

When asked about making the step up, Briggs said: “Everyone is quicker, sharper, and the game is played at a quicker speed. It’s that next step, and you want to prove that you can play at that level. Hopefully, that’s what I’m going to be able to do.”