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Mitchell shining after Van Aanholt exit from Crystal Palace

When Crystal Palace parted ways with seven first-team stars in the summer at the end of their contracts, one of the most noticeable names was Dutch left-back Patrick van Aanholt.

After four-and-a-half seasons at Selhurst Park, the two parties couldn’t agree a new deal and the 31-year-old former Chelsea man opted to join Turkish outfit Galatasaray on a free transfer. That opened the way for Palace academy graduate Tyrick Mitchell to step into the first-team on a regular basis.

Last season Mitchell made 19 appearances in the Premier League and played 90 minutes in each of them, while Van Aanholt struggled with injury and form. That was clearly enough for Palace chairman Steve Parish and new manager Patrick Vieira to put their belief into the 22-year-old to be an instant replacement.

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He hasn’t let them down either, so far being an ever-present in the Premier League team for Palace and playing every minute available to him. But more than his availability, it’s his performances that have been enough to convince Palace fans that they made the right decision in refusing to give Van Aanholt a pay-rise on his £55k-per-week deal last summer.

According to WhoScored, Mitchell currently ranks first for successful tackles per game at the club with 3.0, ranks second for interceptions per match with 1.4 and ranks fourth for most clearances with 2.5. He is also averaging 0.9 successful dribbles an outing, the same amount as Wilfried Zaha, and earned himself an assist in the 1-1 draw with Newcastle in October to show he can be an offensive threat too.

The £5.8m-rated Van Aanholt was great during his time with the Eagles, even being labelled as “spectacular” for his performances during the 2019/20 campaign with the club. But his exit was absolutely the right decision.

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It has created an opportunity for another young player to come in and establish themselves, while also freeing up cash to spend elsewhere and getting the average age of the squad down. Mitchell is repaying the faith shown in him by the club, and the fans are buzzing to have him at the club.

The club certainly gambled by letting so many regular first-teamers leave at once, but Vieira has rebuilt the team and while they are still a work in progress there is no work needed at left-back because Mitchell has stepped up expertly. Clearly, Parish struck gold with his decision-making here.

AND in other news, Patrick Vieira must unleash Michael Olise.