“I’m Scottish! No, I’m not shy. On the pitch it’s football. If you’re not going to talk, what are you doing on the pitch?
“You need to communicate. I love football, a big part of my game is communicating.”
-Billy Gilmour; source: Chelsea FC
It’s what some would call “personality”, including a man who knows a thing or two about communicating on the pitch, former Arsenal and Chelsea midfield maestro and trouble-maker, Cesc Fabregas.
“He played amazing tonight. Personality is the most important at this age and he’s got it all right.
“Now time to keep learning and taking advantage of these games to prove the coach he’s good enough.”
-Cesc Fabregas; source: Metro
Fabregas’ Chelsea career consistent of a series of proves, as Mr. Magic Hat convinced both Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte that their midfields could use a bit of non-pragmatic passing, too. Ironically, he was then shown the cold shoulder by pass-happy Sarri.
Fortunately for Gilmour, he has no such worries, with Frank Lampard more than receptive and more than willing to give opportunities to those who deserve it. And just as he was in preseason, Lampard was more than impressed by the 18-year-old’s efforts last night.
“I thought Billy Gilmour was the best player on the pitch. He moves the ball at a pace. Every pass he hits is punchy and into people’s feet. I’m delighted for him.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Metro
Gilmour, who joined as a 16-year-old two years ago from Glasgow Rangers, was one of four Chelsea Academy graduates in the starting lineup on Wednesday, and one six Chelsea youngsters to feature (with four more on the bench). Like Reece James and Marc Guehi, Gilmour was making his full senior debut for the club, and looking right at home from the first whistle to the last.
“It was a really good feeling to make my full debut, and it was really good to get the win. It was breathtaking. It was a great night to walk out in front of all the Chelsea fans. And the boys performed really well. You could see the attacking threat we had with the goals.
“The gaffer has come in and wants to play the youth. It’s been really good experience for us and we’re gaining confidence from it. I have worked hard for this so it wasn’t a shock, but I had to step up and show what I’m capable of. I think I played well.”
As evidenced by praise and acknowledgement from all corners, Gilmour played well indeed, barely missing a pass and driving the team forward from central midfield. His performance underscores the idea that Lampard’s faith in the youth isn’t just rooted in idealism, but rather in a long-term plan for excellence at Chelsea.
“When you go to the training ground the gaffer will ask you to come and train with the senior team if you’re doing really well. It goes for all the boys; it doesn’t matter your age. If you’re training well, working hard, playing well, the coaches all speak, and that’s where everyone want to be. They’re always coming over, watching training, watching our games, interacting with us. It’s a great environment at our training ground.”
It truly is the dawn of a new era at the club. But football is a harsh business, and the wins have to keep coming at the same time as well. Grimsby Town may be no better than midtable in the fourth division, but the emphatic nature of Chelsea’s win, our first at home in any competition this season, will hopefully give the proper confidence boost for the tougher games ahead.
For the team and for Billy himself, just like for all the young players vying for minutes and recognition, it’s only the beginning of a long, arduous, but ultimately successful and trophy-filled (hopefully!) journey.
“I’m just taking it a step at a time. I’ve got the 23s, we’re doing really well there. Of course I want to get as many opportunities with the first team as possible. I just need to keep training hard and working hard.”
-Billy Gilmour; source: Chelsea FC
When talent works hard, the sky is the limit.