By 90Min
April 12, 2018

There is something special about seeing an academy player break into your club's first team. The pride of seeing a local boy don the colours, we almost feel some sort of relation to them; a kind of fulfilment that a father would experience seeing his child make their Premier League debut.

All of the aforementioned is exactly how the majority of those who occupy Selhurst Park on matchday feel towards Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Amidst a sea of injuries and relegation worries, the 20-year-old was afforded a chance to make an impact by Roy Hodgson against Tottenham back in February.

Wan-Bissaka, although on the losing side thanks to a last gasp Harry Kane winner, performed admirably, winning the Man of the Match award from one of the club's many sponsors.

In what has been a baptism of fire in every sense of the phrase, the London born full back's first three starts in English football were against Spurs, Manchester United and Tottenham, whilst he has also had to deal with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah; his reputation has come through unstained in eye-catching fashion in all of these games.

In all of those aforementioned fixtures that have been played out, Wan-Bissaka has not put a foot wrong. Where other youngsters are eased into the profession via the lower leagues, the player, who has been with the Eagles since the age of 11, began his career against the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Eden Hazard, Harry Kane....and Tom Ince, but you get the picture. 

His spirited, committed performances have resonated with the Palace fans, whilst they may tell you that they haven't seen a better tackler in the team in some years; they wouldn't even be emphasising.

Wan-Bissaka's emergence adds to a long line of academy products to star for the Crystal Palace first team, talents such as Victor Moses, Nathaniel Clyne, Wayne Routledge and of course, Wilfried Zaha.

There is something emblematic about the club when it comes to priding themselves on youth players, a feature that has been put on ice since the Eagles won promotion in 2013 in all honesty.

Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

For a 20-year-old to be thrown in at the deep end against the calibre of club as aforementioned, Wan-Bissaka obviously deserves credit, but the fact that Palace find themselves in the depths of a relegation battle make the full back's performances so much more impressive. 

Bluntly speaking here, it takes balls to grab your chance by the scruff of the neck in the circumstances that Wan-Bissaka has, whereas his shining qualities - such as positioning and reading of the game - are actually traits that come through experience, not naturally; the ceiling of his potential is scarily high. 

In terms of resonating with the fanbase, the Palace fans have constructed a truly genius chant to the tune of 'Rock the Casbah' by The Clash, in which they have reconstructed the chorus to: "Your wingers they don't like him, Wan-Bissaka, Wan-Bissaka!". Give it a listen, at the risk of it staying in your head for the next fortnight. Or month. Or year. 

The 20-year-old's showings in red and blue have been so consistently excellent that he is even keeping Manchester United's highly rated Timothy Fosu-Mensah on the sidelines, as well as the Eagles' formerly ever present Joel Ward.

One thing that many football fans are guilty of, however, is lauding their young players as the best thing since sliced bread. Whilst I wholly believe everything that I have just written, it is down to the Palace fanbase to keep Wan-Bissaka grounded, an aspect of the game that promising youngsters arguably find the hardest. 

That shouldn't be a problem for Wan-Bissaka, in all honestly, with the support and family around him that he has. His match worn shirt from his debut against Spurs is currently up in his mum's house; there just seems to be a natural humility to his personality, which is a recipe for success coupled with his footballing ability.

The Crystal Palace academy conveyor belt looks to have rolled off another gem...

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