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First Team

Palace TV launch exclusive mini-doc on Tyrick Mitchell

29 October 2020

Tyrick Mitchell casts his eye over the pitches he grew up playing on. Competing with AFC Wembley until the age of 12, the young left-back could only dream of becoming a top-flight footballer.

Now, nearly a decade later, Mitchell has 10 Premier League appearances to his name, the support of a former England manager and experience with some of the top-flight's finest footballers.

To say it's been a journey would be understating, but Mitchell's move into the public eye has been swift and sudden. Supporters may not know the full story behind his path to professional football, and so Palace TV took the talented defender back to where it all began to find out every detail first hand.

Recalling his move to Palace on the very pitch he started his career, Mitchell explains how a move to south London arose after Brentford's Academy fell through:

"My coach from AFC Wembley rang me to say Palace are interested," he says, "and I literally went to meet Gary [Issott]. It was around the time when they were in the FA Cup final, so went to meet him somewhere near Wembley. Literally, the Hilton Hotel by Wembley stadium - spoke from there and the rest is history.

"[That season] we were winning games 4-1, going on winning streaks and that season was one of my most enjoyable seasons. That time we were playing three at the back so I was playing left centre-back, which was a different kind of role but I liked it because it was less one v ones, you had more time on the ball. [Paddy McCarthy is] a great coach. He’s a motivator, knows how to get the most out of you and how to manage you - for me personally, he helped me a lot."

Mitchell fast drew attention as he competed with the club's Under-18s and 23s. In fact, though many fans will have first heard his name this year, the then-teenager was under the eye of Alan Pardew as far back as 2017.

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"You go up [to first-team training] and you’re kind of like a mannequin," Mitchell recalls. "I remember it was when Alan Pardew was manager and I was just on the side, jumping in here and there. That was the first time I was actually with the first-team for a session.

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"The first time I staked a claim a bit was when we played against Dulwich Hamlet [in an October 2018 friendly]. That’s the first time. I played in that, I did okay, I did decent and from then on I knew in myself if I keep working I’d get more chances to train.

"I think he [Roy Hodgson] praised me and I remember that. From then on, I was always around."

But trouble struck for Mitchell as he verged on a more regular berth with the first-team squad. Joining the Eagles on a pre-season tour in Switzerland, the left-back hit the pitch against FC Luzern in the 65th-minute - but, in doing so, sustained an injury that would sideline him until Christmas.

He returned to make the bench against Brighton & Hove Albion in December, but a further injury again knocked him back and kept him fighting for his debut.

Then, finally, that long desired call-up came against Leicester City as the Premier League rolled on without fans in 2019/20.

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29 October 2020

"I was coming back, feeling decent, getting back my fitness and then, boom, we’re not in for two or three months. Not to say COVID was a blessing in disguise but the whole situation was - because I was able to build on my body and get my body into the right place. 

"The thing that was making me believe a bit was how many substitutions we were allowed - I was thinking if we’re winning by a few I might get put on. But in my head I was realistic - because for a defender it’s hard. You don’t really want to change your back four in games. I understood that part of it… I was hopeful but I wasn’t saying: ‘I’m going to make it.’

"I was just sitting there [v Leicester] and we had one more occasion to make a substitution. I was just sitting there and [Andros] Townsend went up, so I was thinking no one else was going on. Then Redders [first-team coach Dave Reddington] just called my name and it sinks in.

"You’re thinking: ‘Is it me?’ He’s like: ‘Yeah, come.’ You don’t even get to sit down and focus on the feeling, it hits you at one time. You need to get your stuff off quickly… It was a proud moment, realising and coming from the battles with injuries, the battles with life.

"Actually making a dream a reality - even though it might be five or 10 minutes. Seeing these guys from Match of the Day and then stepping on the pitch with them, it’s what everyone wants to do. 

"Every game [still] feels like a debut. One day, I’ll sit down and realise I actually played in the Premier League."

Watch the incredible full feature with Tyrick by clicking on the video below!

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