Billy Gilmour has set a benchmark that must now be maintained, according to Frank Lampard after the Chelsea head coach admitted that in hindsight he could have given the young Scottish midfielder a greater first-team opportunity sooner.
The head coach said that seeing Gilmour’s progression, having not been fully part of the senior setup until mid-winter, has given him great pleasure in a campaign that has seen nine academy products given their debuts.
But now the 18-year-old needs to maintain that standard when football resumes to retain his place and “show that he can have the career he’s started to show that he can have”.
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Lampard told Sky Sports: “The young players who have come through this year, it’s given me great pleasure. They are great to work with. Young players are like sponges and they want to come in and they want to learn.
“Billy [Gilmour] probably gives me as much pleasure as anyone. When you look at Billy, he can be slight in terms of his size, he’s young, he’s quiet, he’s polite.
“Billy’s come over to the first-team training building a while ago because he just had to, he just trained at such a level.
“When you have possession in training, a training game – you start talking about attitude there and doing the basics right as a young player, it can get lost a little bit. ‘Can you do the real basics right?’ Billy does them day-in and day-out.”
While Gilmour had featured off the bench in the Premier League and in the Carabao Cup earlier in the campaign, his man-of-the-match performance in the FA Cup win over Liverpool and subsequent dominance of Everton in the final game before the break brought widespread recognition.
Lampard believes that he was too cautious in throwing in the teenager but was impressed by the simplicity of his game on such a grand stage.
“People think I threw him in against…