Community Ambassador Billy Mitchell reflects on his home debut
Billy Mitchell had his first taste of first-team action at The Den on Saturday afternoon – and he wants more.
Billy who was first scouted on a community trust football holiday camp, played 90 minutes as The Lions comfortably defeated Newport County 3-0 in the Third Round of the Emirates FA Cup, courtesy of goals from Matt Smith, Connor Mahoney (pen) and Tom Bradshaw.
It was Mitchell’s third appearance in the colours of the team he has supported since he was a young boy, but the first in SE16 – and the 18-year-old explained how he was mentally prepared for a game that was “a long time coming.”
“I’m delighted to make my home debut, it’s been a long time coming,” he told millwallfc.co.uk. “I’m pleased to help the boys to a 3-0 win against tough opposition.
“Everyone knows the upsets that can occur in the FA Cup, so I’m glad we’ve beaten a good Newport side convincingly, and we move on to the next round.
“I found out [that I would be playing] on Friday in training, so a relatively short time before the game! However, I had an idea that I might play, so I was prepared mentally for it anyway.”
Despite having registered his home debut at the weekend, Mitchell is no stranger to The Den having played for – and captained – The Lions’ Under 23s team on numerous occasions.
The midfielder, however, stated that the environment was not the same for a first-team game, and praised his more senior team-mates for helping him through the afternoon.
“I’m used to playing here and with three sides being empty in the Under 23s, but [Saturday] was considerably different, playing in front of a bigger crowd with a lot more noise – they get behind you. That’s my first real experience of it and I thought it was great.
“There was a lot of senior players out there despite all the changes, but there were some young and fresh legs as well. The experienced lads were invaluable for me. Trying to play on your home debut, with a bit of nerves, it was important to have the likes of Alex Pearce and Jake Cooper in your ear, telling you what to do. I found them very helpful.”
Billy is one of eight first team players who are PFA Community Trust ambassadors.