Scotland has provided numerous talents for Chelsea in the past. Pat Nevin is probably the Scottsman that came to mind. However, it has been more than 14 years since a Scottish player has made their Chelsea debut. Until the emergence of young midfield magician Billy Gilmour this season.
On August 31st, a young Scottish midfielder hailing from a small town called Ardrossan made his Chelsea debut in a brief six-minute cameo against Sheffield United. A glimpse of his technical and creative abilities excited Chelsea fans. There is no doubt that Lampard rates Gilmour and sees the talent inside him. With Lampard even opting to keep Gilmour for the 2019/20 season to compete with the squad rather than shipping him out on loan.
Born on June 11th 2001, Billy Gilmour spent his early years playing in the Scottish Football Association Performance School Program. His fast progress secured him a spot in Ranger’s academy in 2009. Gilmour went on to spend most of his significant years as a footballer in the Rangers Academy. His desire and fast learning saw him make his debut for Ranger’s U20 development team at the age of 15 in late 2016. A month later, he was invited to train by Ranger’s manager at that time, Mark Warburton, to train with the first team. Not only that but he was also selected for Scotland’s U16 team in the Victory Shield tournament.
His talent earned him a squad number in the first team and was even included in the provisional squad twice for the Scottish Cup games. Gilmour continued to shine in Ranger’s academy and kept progressing fast. In the spring of 2017, it was reported that Arsenal, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and both of the Manchester clubs were keen on bringing Gilmour to their teams. Eventually, Chelsea won the race and signed him on his 16th birthday. Rumors have even suggested that his signing might have been the record fee for a player his age.
His move to Chelsea saw him join their U18s team at the age of 16. Gilmour continued to show his worth, scoring on his debut in the Under 18 Premier League against Arsenal. He scored again in the next two matches and carried on to win the U18’s Premier League title. Gilmour’s impressive debut season in Chelsea’s youth setup earned him his first professional contract at age 17.
Not only had he caught the eyes of Chelsea but Scotland has been taking advantage of his talent with him making his U21 international debut in the 2018 Toulon Tournament where he helped Scotland finish 4th and was named “Revelation of the Tournament”.
The arrival of Chelsea legend, Frank Lampard, in the summer of 2019 saw him make his senior debut in a pre-season friendly against Bohemians. Gilmour this season has already made two appearances in the Premier League and two more in the Carabao Cup.
Despite standing at only 5’6, Gilmour has already proven that he is capable to cope with the physicality and intensity of men’s football. His fast feet, creative vision, and silky movement is something that Chelsea fans should be excited for this season. At this rate of progress, Gilmour may even be an important and significant member of Chelsea’s first team in the upcoming seasons.