Lower Hutt-born teenager Matt Dibley-Dias has signed a four-year deal to keep him with English Premier League club Fulham.
Dibley-Dias, who is eligible to play for New Zealand, Brazil, Portugal and England, is on the verge of breaking into Fulham’s first team after coming through the club’s academy and U-21 side.
Announcing he had signed till 2027, the club said on their website:
“Matt has been a key cog in our Under-21 side for the past couple of seasons and impressed during our pre-season tour in America, coming on from the bench in all three of our games.”
Dibley-Dias (19) joined Fulham at U-14s level following the temporary closure of Brentford’s academy, where he was previously based.
‘I just want to kick on’
“It’s an honour to extend my stay here. It’s been a long journey with ups and downs but I’m really happy to be here for another four years.
“Since joining from Brentford, I’ve felt as if I’m at home here, because I’ve been here for a large part of my life now, so it feels good to continue my journey at Fulham.
“There were a lot of factors and thoughts put into the decision. I was shown a plan for the next steps in my career and I feel like for my development this is the best place to be, so now I just want to kick on.”
‘He has shown excellent promise’
Head of Football Development Huw Jennings said: “We are delighted to announce Matt’s new contract signing.
“He has shown excellent promise since joining the academy at 14 years of age. Along with a number of other academy graduates, Matt has signed a long-term deal which will enable him to establish himself in the first team environment, having made the squad a few times already.”
When signing him to his first professional contract in 2022, Jennings said Dibley-Dias had “the skill of a Brazilian and the strength of a New Zealand rugby player’’.
Though eligible to represent four countries, his profile on Fulham’s website says the central midfielder “chose his international allegiance as Brazil at the start of the 2021-22 season’’.
His grandfather, Manoel José Dias (dubbed Manoelzinho), averaged a goal every two games for leading Brazilian clubs Flamengo and Corinthians in the 1960s.
While Dibley-Dias has said “the dream is to play for the Brazilian national team’’ is his ultimate goal, his immediate future is with Fulham.
More Fulham connections
Three All Whites who have all been on Fulham’s books:
- Simon Elliott (at Fulham 2006-08, playing 12 games), 69 internationals
- Chris James (at Fulham 2005-07, no games), 22 internationals
- James Musa (at Fulham 2012-13, no games), 3 internationals