Not for a generation, possibly longer, has Scotland produced a football player of such bristling potential as Billy Gilmour.
Such is the impact the 18-year-old has made at Chelsea recently it’s difficult not to verge into hyperbole when assessing just how far the young midfielder can go in the game, but this is a talent that transcends all previous precedence.
Gilmour was the best player on the pitch in the back-to-back wins over Liverpool and Everton that will be remembered as a pivotal moment in the teenager’s career. There had been much hype about a diminutive Scottish midfielder for years, but this was confirmation that Chelsea have a potentially world class player on their hands.
Steve Clarke must have watched those games in delight. While Scotland has produced a decent crop of players in recent years – see Andy Robertson, Scott McTominay, John McGinn, Kieran Tierney, Ryan Fraser – no Scotland manager has been handed a player of Gilmour’s natural talent in decades.
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Frank Lampard has seemingly found a place for Gilmour at Chelsea and now Clarke must do the same for Scotland. The 18-year-old is already at a standard where he is a standout at Premier League level and so it’s not difficult to envisage that he will be able to carry that over into the international arena.
And yet the signs are that Gilmour will be kept in Scotland’s Under-21 squad, at least for the time being, called up for the Euro Under-21 Championship qualifiers against Croatia and Greece. For context, this put Gilmour alongside players from the likes of Ayr United, Alloa Athletic, Partick Thistle and Stevenage.
Billy Gilmour in action vs Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge (Image: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
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