Patrick Vieira has admitted that Crystal Palace didn’t sign a replacement for Patrick van Aanholt over the summer transfer window due to not wanting to block academy graduate Tyrick Mitchell’s progression.
Mitchell, who made his professional debut towards the end of the 2019-20 season, became the South Londoners’ first-choice left-back over the summer, with Van Aanholt allowed to leave on a free transfer to Galatasaray.
Mitchell has quickly adapted to Vieira’s style of play and had the most touches (93) and second-most passes (74) of any Palace player in their 3-0 win over Spurs last weekend.
The 22-year-old has played every minute of Premier League football this season. Vieira said: ”Tyrick’s been fantastic. He’s still a young player that needs to keep developing himself. I have really enjoyed working with him because he is always asking questions. He is a really good listener [who is good at] taking information on board. His potential is fantastic, and I believe that if he keeps developing that way, he will be a really exciting player in the future.”
When asked if he believed Mitchell was thriving off the faith that the club has shown him by not replacing Van Aanholt – which made Mitchell the only recognised first-team left-back in the senior squad – Vieira said: “Dougie [Freedman] and the chairman really have a big hope for him in the football club. We knew how good he was, and we knew about his potential. We didn’t want to sign somebody to block his progress because, at this level, he needs to play every week, and he is doing it well.”
Vieira also gave club captain Luka Milivojevic his first appearance of the season in the win against Tottenham, with the 30-year-old midfielder coming on in the 67th minute for Cheikhou Kouyate, after missing the start of the season due to personal reasons.
“I’m really pleased to see him come back after the difficult period that he had,” said Vieira. “He’s been working well. Physically he’s getting there – he’s doing the catch-up. His work has been really positive. He played half an hour against Spurs, and he had a really good feeling after the game. He is on his way to get to where he was.”
PICTURE: KEITH GILLARD
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