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Billy Gilmour picks up ankle injury, returns to Chelsea ... for now

Loan not over yet

Crystal Palace v Norwich City - Premier League Photo by Federico Maranesi/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

It’s been a bit of an up-and-down sort of season for young Billy Gilmour at unequivocally terrible Norwich City, but while he’s recently had a very good run in the side, starting eight Premier League games in a row for new manager Dean Smith, he’s now hit another bump in the road in the form of a high ankle sprain.

The injury isn’t devastating but it’s significant enough that the 20-year-old has, at least for now, returned to Chelsea for an assessment and diagnosis. High ankle sprains can take a month or even two to properly heal, but Smith is expecting Gilmour to complete his rehab back at Norwich — and then also see out the rest of his loan.

“Billy has got a high ankle (sprain) injury so it will probably put him out for three or four weeks. He has gone back to Chelsea today for them to assess it but hopefully he will be back for his treatment and rehab over the next few days.”

“No, I don’t believe [the loan will be ended early]. I don’t think the injury is significant enough for that. I believe it is an injury where he will be assessed by Chelsea and then sent back to us. Hopefully in the next three weeks he is back playing.”

-Dean Smith; source: PA via Yahoo!

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel sounded not quite as sure of that plan when asked about the situation in his pre-match press conference earlier today.

“First of all, we check his injury of course. He is our player and he is here to have examinations so we know about the situation so we can decide with him together with Norwich about the treatment. Then we will take the decision but we have not talked so far about if he stays or not.”

-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London

Norwich City v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images

Gilmour had drawn the ire of the Norwich unwashed in a recent game, with the Canaries losing five in a row without scoring a single goal. The criticism was obviously unfair, but his loanee status makes him an easier target. Still, Smith says that the youngster is determined to prove them wrong, which is the sort of attitude we like to see.

“I was disappointed with what I heard. I didn’t hear it at the actual game, but I had family members in the stand. It was a minority, Billy knows that. My message to them is to stick with your team.

“I have spoken to Billy. He wants to prove people wrong and show what a player he is.

“He never shies away from wanting the ball at any opportunity. Has he been at the top of his game? No, but nor have Norwich City and that’s something that we both want to put right. Everybody within the dressing-room knows the value of Billy, but people have to remember he’s 20 years old. He will keep working hard to get better.”

-Dean Smith; source: Football.London

While our own injury situation in midfield has improved, perhaps we will still give it a good think before sending Gilmour back to East Anglia.