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Billy Gilmour chuffed with brilliant, pleasant, not bad, very good season at Chelsea

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Enjoying Chelsea’s youth revolution

Chelsea Training Session Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images

Billy Gilmour may be just on the fringes of Chelsea’s youth revolution at the moment, but surely the way he (and the club) are going, it’s only a matter of time before he becomes the next youngster to step into a starring role.

After all, the 18-year-old has already made his Chelsea debut, his Premier League debut, and gotten his first senior professional start for the club! And while in years past that would’ve been just a nice footnote to the season, these days, such opportunities are actually meaningful and carry with them the very real possibility of more opportunities to come — if you do well.

And Gilmour certainly has been doing well, ever since preseason when he first impressed Lampard, and even ever since joining Chelsea. As he tells the Daily Record in a lengthy interview, he’s already well ahead of the initial plan that was put into place when he joined Chelsea from Rangers in the summer of 2017.

“I wanted to follow my dream and to play in the Premier League and choosing Chelsea has turned out to be the right move. I’m enjoying it. The plan for me was set up and I’m now ahead of the plan.

“I thought I was going to play two years at Under-18s but I played one at 18s and then moved on to the Under-23s. This year should be my first year at 23s but I’m one of the senior players. I am training with the first team and I have had a couple of games so I’m in a good position now.”

Gilmour may be just about the tiniest player one any given day at Cobham, but he impressed the new head coach and his staff immediately this summer, turning a potential loan move into a first-team role.

At the time, we had lamented the fact that Gilmour couldn’t join Chelsea on the Tour of Japan due to visa issues — apparently the club simply hadn’t imagined he’d be needing one! But Lampard promised more opportunities and as he’s shown repeatedly, stayed true to that word.

“In pre-season the manager had a chat with me saying he knew I wanted to go on loan but said it would be better if I stayed.

“Obviously it’s working. He’s looking at younger players. With the transfer ban it’s hard but it’s good experience for us. Hopefully, I can try to get more first-team games. He talks to you normally, tells you you’re doing well and says if I want to keep training with them I need to keep my standards up.”

One of the earliest narrative goalposts established this summer was Lampard & Co clearing the almost literal roadblocks between the first-team and the youth team at the training ground, and the likes of Gilmour have been reaping the benefits already.

“It’s been a really good experience for me under the new manager. The manager watches a lot of the 23s’ games and our training. There’s a real togetherness at the club. If you are doing well then the first-team coaches know about it.”

We’ve seen over the years that words and promises are easy, but following through with actual action is not.

Chelsea v Grimsby Town - Carabao Cup - Third Round - Stamford Bridge Photo by Simon Cooper/PA Images via Getty Images

But these days, Academy Days actually mean Academy Days, opportunities are actually opportunities, and the kids do get an actual chance. Gilmour is just hopefully one of the first of many excellent talents to follow, many of whom will surely make an impact at Chelsea as well.

He himself is well on his way.

“During training one day I got a group text message telling me to go down to train with the first team. We were doing drills and [Lampard] told us to split into two teams. He told our group to be sharp because it was the starting team for tomorrow. When he said that, I just looked at one of the other boys in the team and we made eye contact and just kind of laughed!

“Obviously to get told that was amazing. I didn’t believe him to be honest! It was very exciting for me. After that I couldn’t wait to tell my mum and dad that I was starting.

“So I had already come on for the last seven minutes against Sheffield United and then I played the full game against Grimsby. The build-up to it was different, being in the first-team environment. I was looking at the senior players because I want to know how they approach games. I want to learn from them and wanted to know what I could do to improve my preparation.

“When I got told I was too excited but I settled down and got a good sleep before the game. I was buzzing. Just walking around with a big smile on my face. I don’t really get nervous to be honest. I suppose I get good nerves because I am smiling. I honestly couldn’t wait to get on the pitch. Even in the warm-up I was buzzing about waiting for kick-off.

“That was my dream. I wanted to play in the first team, I’ve done that. I needed to show I should be in the team. I thought I played well and was happy with my performance.”

Indeed, he did.

Armed with a new contract, too, young Billy’s here to stay, here to play, and here to impress.

“A lot of good things have happened to me in a short space of time. My agent told me Chelsea wanted to give me a new contract and I said ‘where do I sign?’

“There was no messing about. I just wanted to sign it. That’s me at Chelsea for another four years. Hopefully it will remain good for me.”

-Billy Gilmour; source: Daily Record

Chelsea FC v Grimsby Town - Carabao Cup Third Round Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images