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Billy Gilmour officially promoted to Chelsea first-team

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The tiny 18-year-old gets a big chance

Hull City v Chelsea FC - FA Cup Fourth Round Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Despite some suggesting, pleading, then possible begging, Chelsea’s board decided not to add to Lampard’s first team in January. Instead of moaning and complaining — which he may very well have done, we just didn’t see it — Lampard decided to make an addition by himself, tapping 18-year-old Scottish wonderkid Billy Gilmour as a member of the first team.

‘It’s a massive moment for me and I’m really happy. I went with the squad to Leicester and even though I wasn’t involved, the gaffer pulled me afterwards to tell me that after the winter break I’d be with the first-team permanently.

‘It’s a dream come true for me. It’s the first big step I think, moving into the first team dressing room at a club like Chelsea. It’s massive for me.’

–Billy Gilmour; source: ChelseaFC

Lampard has had no choice but to rely on Chelsea’s collection of young, exciting but mostly unproven players, but he has also kept true to his word that talent and performance are more important than age. This is a far cry from Chelsea’s previous policy of endless loans and hopes that a seamless fit somehow develops despite a young player never actually getting much time with the first team manager or players.

‘Knowing that the manager has such faith in you is massive, it gives me so much confidence when I step onto the field. It’s really good knowing that he trusts in you and likes the way you play, and I think that’s the same for everyone here.

‘Age isn’t really an issue here. The gaffer has shown that if you work hard and perform well, then you will get opportunities. Hopefully I can keep pushing on and work hard every day in training.’

–Billy Gilmour; source: ChelseaFC

The hard work starts now, as Gilmour surely still has a lot to learn and figure out how to cope with at a senior level. At only 5’6, his diminutive size already poses a challenge given the physicality of the Premier League. Thankfully he can look directly into the eyes of N’Golo Kanté and get all the tips he needs about enduring midfield battles at the same size.

However, the thrilling thing about Gilmour is what he provides (that we don’t have much of in one package). There were noticeable moments in FA Cup and Premier League action in which his passing abilities were on full display. He’s a decisive player with good close control who possesses a stunning array of passes, plus an ability to scan the pitch and make quick decisions on how to get the ball into more dangerous areas. Sounds a bit useful.

He’s still a prospect, and won’t be pushing into the XI for some time (if at all). But he’s an exciting player, and with our PL2 squad still unbeaten and full of talent, it’s a good message to send in light of Lamptey’s departure to Brighton.

Anyway, here’s a video of the little Scot bewitching the ball all across the pitch.