Crystal Palace’s latest academy star is enjoying a remarkable rise on the footballing stage.
Tyrick Mitchell entered the first team for the first time as he covered for the injured Patrick van Aanholt at the end of the 2019/20 season. He has since held down his spot in every Premier League starting XI, with no signs of relinquishing his spot any time soon.
The 21-year-old left-back has continued to impress, featuring in a run of games that includes deserved wins over Southampton and Manchester United. The defender continues to make marks on games in his own right, and currently tops the Premier League table for most individual tackles – demonstrating his impeccable work rate and desire to get stuck in.
His defensive acumen is only being honed with every game; Palace were unfortunate not to claim all three points against arch-rivals Brighton following a 90th-minute deflected long-range goal by Alexis Mac Allister that equalised for the Seagulls. Late disappointments like this can only form part of a learning curve for the promising but inexperienced full-back.
Mitchell exhibited his physicality well against Palace’s south coast nemesis, aiding as part of a defence that only conceded three shots on target and a goal despite twenty overall shots from Brighton. He has played every minute so far in the league this season, only further confirming both the importance of his role and the trust placed in him by Hodgson.
Mitchell has plenty of senior defenders in the dressing room to work with him. Joel Ward, Jeffrey Schlupp, Gary Cahill, Scott Dann, Cheikhou Kouyate – these are just some of the hardened senior figures that have played in positions around Mitchell’s preferred position.
All the indicators are that the novice defender is growing into life in the Premier League, and is surrounding by stoic, experienced heads to help guide him.
To ditch Mitchell from the starting XI against Fulham on Saturday, without a bad performance to legitimise it, would be ill-advised. Mitchell’s senior career remains firmly in its infancy and cutting the lifeline of minutes at the highest level would have a benign effect on his overall progress as a player. Moreover, the stats evidence the defensive solidity he adds to Hodgson’s left flank.
Despite being cleared and available to play, Patrick van Aanholt was consigned to the bench against Brighton. Unfortunately for him, he will have to stay there until Mitchell’s good form no longer stands.