Impetuous, commanding and composed, Billy Gilmour bossed Chelsea’s midfield as the Blues dumped Liverpool out of the FA Cup with a stunning 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.
Here, PA examines the 18-year-old’s prospects after a watershed performance.
Chelsea’s injury list only continues to lengthen, with Willian and Mateo Kovacic the latest to join the walking wounded. Both men picked up Achilles problems in the win over Liverpool. N’Golo Kante, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic and Andreas Christensen were all missing on Tuesday, with Frank Lampard’s squad depth severely tested. Unless Kovacic avoids any serious issue it is a fair bet for Gilmour to be involved in Sunday’s Premier League clash against Everton. Lampard insists he has “absolute faith” in the former Rangers youth star, and Tuesday’s performance fully vindicated that trust.
Scotland manager Steve Clarke watched Gilmour’s star turn first hand at Stamford Bridge. The international manager must surely now be on the verge of handing Gilmour a full call-up and the chance to fight for a spot at the summer’s European Championships. Gilmour may only need to repeat his Liverpool impact on several more occasions to force his senior Scotland breakthrough, so complete a showing he produced in west London.
Supreme technique, calmness under pressure, a constant desire to show for the ball in testing circumstances, all topped off with first-rate delivery – that’s why. Gilmour’s flawless showing against the Premier League champions-elect had everything, from defensive grit and lung-busting work rate to attacking poise and creative vision. The Glasgow native even pulled off an impudent nutmegging of Brazil star Fabinho. Push all these qualities aside though, in favour of one fact – he boasts his team-mates’ trust. No one exemplified this more than when Kovacic angled a ball into Gilmour’s feet with the teenager standing with his back to the play and on the edge of his own box. No hesitation from Kovacic, who had zero qualms that Gilmour could cope. The young Scot turned his head to scan the scene even before Kovacic fed him, and once on the ball he spun to evade the cover before spreading play wide to alleviate the danger.