Crystal Palace’s academy was once known as a hotbed for exciting young talent.
Before their promotion to the Premier League back in 2013, the Eagles were responsible for bringing through the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Nathaniel Clyne, Jonny Williams, Victor Moses, Wayne Routledge, Lewis Grabban and Ben Watson.
However, following their return to the top-flight, it appeared as if the focus on the academy began to wane as survival overtook youth development as the number one priority at Selhurst Park. The added financial boost from being in the Premier League perhaps tempted the Eagles to buy rather than organically promote.
After six years back in the big time, it seems as if the south Londoners are beginning to turn their attention back to the youngsters.
Academy star Aaron Wan-Bissaka was handed his chance, and spent just a season-and-a-half in the first team before joining Manchester United in a £50m move this summer.
Despite their loss, Palace may already have the next Wan-Bissaka in their ranks in the form of young left-back Tyrick Mitchell.
Of course, the main difference between the pair is that Mitchell plays on the opposite side to the England Under-21 star, but there appear to be some similarities between them aside from that one fundamental difference.
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) July 10, 2019
Obviously, tackling is Wan-Bissaka’s main attribute – no defender completed more tackles per game in the Premier League last term, per Whoscored – and he has been labelled ‘The Spider’ for his ability to wrap any one of his eight legs around the ball.
Mitchell was handed his chance as a substitute against FC Luzern this summer in a pre-season game, and despite playing just 25 minutes, he did enough to draw comparisons to Wan-Bissaka from the Palace fans on Twitter, predominantly due to one outstanding last ditch slide tackle.
Indeed, it certainly triggered flashbacks of the £50m man’s defensive style.
Signed from Brentford back in 2016, the 19-year-old Mitchell may well be knocking on Hodgson’s door for a chance in the 2019/20 season, and he will presumably be Patrick van Aanholt’s understudy seeing as Jeffrey Schlupp seems to have been converted to a midfielder by the Palace boss.
The signs are definitely encouraging regarding the teenager’s future in SE25.
In the video below, find out which Chelsea academy prospect is reportedly being lined up to replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka at Crystal Palace…
Standing at 5 foot 7, Mitchell was handed a contract extension back in January and has been training with the first-team, which is both beneficial to his development and a telling sign that he could be in Hodgson’s long term plans.
Wan-Bissaka was a relatively unknown prospect before he rose to prominence just like Mitchell.
Could the rise of a second spider be looming on the horizon?