BY SAM SMITH
Roy Hodgson has explained that Tyrick Mitchell’s absence from Crystal Palace’s matchday squad is a result of his side’s strength in depth.
The 21-year-old has made the bench just once since returning from a knock – despite starting 10 consecutive matches across the end of last season and the start of this campaign.
Patrick van Aanholt – who returned from a shoulder injury last month – has since displaced the academy graduate.
A bigger squad and the lack of tactical gain from having a left-back in reserve has led to Hodgson not opting to name Mitchell on the bench in the Eagles’ last two fixtures.
“It’s a reflection of the strength in depth,” the 73-year-old explained. “He’s been doing extremely well. We’re really, really happy with him but there is some enormous competition.
“The thing is, he was in the team, he was our left-back, but he got injured. That meant that Patrick van Aanholt, who had been sitting on the bench and covering him, got back in the team and he’s done well enough to keep that shirt.
“Now it’s up to Tyrick to force his way back in again, but he’s been doing very well. The problem with full-backs is that you’re not first choice to be on the bench.
“That’s the problem, because you need the positions on the bench to give you tactical changes. The full-backs don’t often do that – the full-back on the bench will more often be cover rather than of any tactical use to you.”
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