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Wan-Bissaka discusses role models and inspiration for youngsters

7 March 2019

Crystal Palace defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka joined Bakary Sako and the Palace for Life Foundation in a school visit earlier in the week and afterwards, he spoke with Premier League Productions.

In the interview, he opened up about the significance of being a role model to children, his own source of inspiration growing up and about life in the public eye.

Wan-Bissaka grew up in New Addington, playing as a winger from the age of 11 in the Palace Academy. Though his rise to success was meteoric and sudden, it came from years of dedicated work and could never have been predicted by even those who knew him best.

And, Wan-Bissaka has revealed, finding the motivation and resolve to continue in that situation was not always a simple task, but he benefitted from some much-needed encouragement from his father as he grew up.

"There was a day where I was in their [the schoolkids'] position and I always wanted to see a role model or meet someone who I looked up to," Wan-Bissaka said.

"I want them to think that there’s always a chance because back then I didn’t see one until my Dad changed me and made me work hard and that’s when the chances started to come."

When the chances came, they came fast and the 21-year-old right-back today finds himself firmly set in the Palace defence, having become a fan favourite and one of the best fullbacks in the Premier League.

His status as one of England's brightest rising talents, however, has brought about new fame. Now stopped for autographs wherever he goes, Wan-Bissaka is living a completely different life to that he enjoyed roughly this time last year.

"It is weird," he said, "but now I know what to expect so when I go out it’s good to see people's reaction.

"There are some days I just want to get to a place for a certain time but I get stopped. I’m used to it and I’m happy to do it."

Perhaps Wan-Bissaka's most conspicuous fans, however, were those he surprised at school this week, as the children managed a vociferous scream upon his arrival.

"They were all shocked," the Palace man said. "It’s like they weren’t expecting it!"

To watch Wan-Bissaka's full interview with Premier League Productions, head over to Palace TV now. Or, if you're reading on the app, just click 'Palace TV'.


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