Thomas Tuchel says Billy Gilmour has “all the qualities” to play a regular role in Chelsea’s midfield but admits the 19-year-old is behind N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in the pecking order.
The Scotland Under-21 international announced himself to the world last season with a man-of-the-match display against Liverpool in the FA Cup fifth round. Gilmour followed that up days later with another standout performance in a 4-0 win over Everton.
Football being stopped due to the Covid-19 pandemic halted Gilmour’s progression, as did a knee injury he suffered during the Project Restart fixtures.
The Chelsea academy graduate returned to fitness at the end of November and made six appearances prior to Frank Lampard’s dismissal as head coach.
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There was concern that Tuchel’s appointment would see Gilmour leave Chelsea on loan in the winter transfer window in search of regular first-team football ahead of this summer’s European Championships.
However, the decision was taken to keep the young midfielder at Stamford Bridge and he has made a big impression on Tuchel.
“First of all, I like him as a person,” the German coach said. “For me, he represents everything a young guy from the academy should represent when he arrives in the first team.
“He is humble. I feel that he is happy to be here, that he is living his dream. He is ready to give everything to fulfil his dream. He gives me the impression that he doesn’t think, ‘this is the end of the road, now I’ve made it’.
“He gives me the exact right feeling, the exact perfect mix of being humble and being impatient and trying every training session to improve, to learn and not showing too much respect [to the older players].”
Gilmour has yet to feature for Chelsea since Tuchel’s appointment….