‘I never thought I’d be where I am now’: Chelsea starlet Billy Gilmour admits he thought he would be sent away on loan after Frank Lampard’s £253m summer spree, but vows to prove he is worthy of his place
- Billy Gilmour, 19, rose to prominence last season under Frank Lampard’s tenure
- But the Scottish starlet admits he thought he would be loaned out this season
- Gilmour said he has no regrets swapping Rangers for the Chelsea academy
- The youngster is inspired by Lampard’s focus on promoting homegrown talent
Billy Gilmour has admitted he was expecting to be loaned out this season after Chelsea signed a host of new stars, but is happy to stay and fight for a first-team place.
The Scottish midfield talent, just 19, picked up 11 senior appearances for Chelsea last season, benefiting from manager Frank Lampard’s penchant for playing homegrown talented youngsters in the first team. But he admitted that his success has come sooner than expected.
‘I never thought I would be where I am just now. I thought maybe the next year I would go on loan, Gilmour told the Four Lads Had A Dream Podcast.
Billy Gilmour made 11 senior appearances for Chelsea in his breakthrough season last year
Gilmour said seeing Frank Lampard promote young players makes him want to prove himself
Gilmour has plenty to prove. Chelsea spent a staggering £253million this summer, which included £89million on Kai Havertz and £37million on Hakim Ziyech, both midfield rivals. With Timo Werner also joining for £53million, existing attackers Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount are more likely to play centrally, adding to Gilmour’s competition.
But the young Scot remains focused on the task ahead.
‘I have always had a plan in my head about coming through the Chelsea academy, trying to get first-team experience and then getting myself in the team,’ he said.
‘The gaffer came in and took the team and Jody Morris and Joe Edwards, who were my youth coaches through Under 18s and 23s, were his assistants.
‘I did pre-season with them, after that I was round training with them and then I got into the first-team changing room, which was massive. I was really happy and I made a couple of appearances.’
Gilmour said he has answered his critics north of the border in his native Scotland, where he initially came through the ranks at the Rangers academy before swapping Ibrox for Stamford Bridge.
‘They [the critics] said I was just going to be missing. But I wanted to follow my dream and if I had never done it, I would have regretted it,’ he said.
‘I took the chance, I worked hard and I came down here and believed in myself and my own ability to go to the top and play against these top players.’
Having not featured for Chelsea since having a knee operation in July, Gilmour is anxious to get back on the training pitch and prove himself to Lampard like many of his young Chelsea contemporaries have.
Gilmour believes he has answered the critics who questioned his decision to leave Rangers
Gilmour had a knee operation in July and is yet to feature for the Blues this season
‘You see the youth players coming through at Chelsea now – like Mason Mount, Reece James, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori – and they have won the FA Youth Cup seven times in the last 10 years. It is incredible, the youth set-up is amazing and I just had to take the next step in my career and go and challenge myself again.’
Showing a degree of pragmatism, Gilmour admitted that if things do not work out at Chelsea then he still had a good chance at forging a top-flight football career.
‘What made my decision was when you see all the players that have come out of the Chelsea youth academy and they are top players. Maybe they are not at Chelsea but they are playing at top clubs, like Nathan Ake at Manchester City.’
While Gilmour has remained in Chelsea’s ranks, the club still has an incredible 32 senior players out on loan, including big names such as Ruben Loftus-Cheek at Fulham, Ross Barkley at Aston Villa and Michy Batshuayi at Crystal Palace.
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