Billy Gilmour: Chelsea youngster lives up to the hype after starring in Liverpool win
Frank Lampard hailed the performance of Billy Gilmour in Chelsea's FA Cup win over Liverpool
Last Updated: 04/03/20 6:36pm
Frank Lampard believes diminutive teen star Billy Gilmour is "huge in talent" after the midfielder excelled in the FA Cup win over Liverpool.
Willian and Ross Barkley found the net as Chelsea inflicted Liverpool's third defeat in four matches, shocking the previously rampant Reds in west London.
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Liverpool were sluggish but Gilmour oozed class from first to last in a performance of matchless quality, leaving Lampard insisting the teen talent is already equipped to thrive in top-tier competition.
"Billy showed today that he's absolutely comfortable at this level," said Lampard.
"If he can play like he played tonight then he's comfortable at this level, so he can get himself in and around the team now.
"The reason he moved from the academy to the first team building recently, to train with us all the time, is because of the quality of player he is. He's done himself no harm tonight with an immaculate performance, a brilliant performance."
2019/20 appearances: 6
Joined Chelsea from Rangers in 2017 for an initial £500,000 aged 16
Starred in the 2018 Toulon Tournament for Scotland where he was named Revelation of the Tournament
Under-18 Premier League and FA Youth Cup winner
Made his full Chelsea debut against Grimsby Town in the 7-1 Carabao Cup victory
Barcelona have sent scouts to watch Gilmour play on several occasions over the past few years, and on Tuesday he demonstrated the composure, personality and vision of a player who had honed his skills at the Catalan club's fabled La Masia academy.
Will Gilmour now be used regularly at first-team level?
After outwitting the Premier League champions-elect, the 18-year-old was rightly named man of the match in just his second Blues start this term.
With the tie virtually won, the Rangers youth product produced one impudent piece of skill to nutmeg Fabinho on the halfway line to start another Chelsea quick transition.
It brought gasps from the Matthew Harding Stand, onlookers understandably mesmerised by the quality being displayed by a youngster who previously had just 281 minutes of first-team football under his belt.
Gilmour only stepped up to Chelsea's senior squad on a permanent basis last month. He has only played nine minutes in the Premier League - a cameo in the 2-2 draw with Sheffield United back in August - but the youngster has already forced his way into manager Lampard's immediate plans.
Achilles injuries to Mateo Kovacic and Willian, coupled with Jorginho's impending suspension and the continued absence of N'Golo Kante, all pave the way for Gilmour to assume a pivotal Stamford Bridge role.
The question now is whether he will form part of Lampard's first team on a regular basis once he has his full compliment of midfield options - but the manager insists the fresh-faced youngster is already ready for the challenge.
"I've got absolute trust in Billy," added Lampard. "I remember when he first came in against Sheffield United, we drew the game and people questioned this kid who looks like a 15-year-old. I remember someone individually saying that to me.
"But I've no problem with him because if he's small in stature he's huge in personality, and also huge in talent. And for me, for a midfield player I have lots of questions.
"Do you want to receive the ball in all positions, in all moments? Yes, he does. Do you want to make angles, can you pick the right pass? Yes, he generally does.
"Will you put your foot in? Yes, he does. He does all the right things, and he's humble. And all his family were here tonight, I think his nan and grandad were down from Scotland.
"And what a performance; not just as a youngster coming into the team, that's one level - he performed like a top-class player going up against top-class players. So it was a great performance."
Should Scotland come calling this month?
Steve Clarke's Scotland team take on Israel in the Euro 2020 play-off semi-finals at Hampden on March 26.
With Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn battling to prove his fitness in time, Clarke may be tempted to look to Gilmour for some much-needed creativity and invention from the middle of the pitch.
So far, Gilmour has only represented his country at U21 level, but having played six times this season for the Chelsea first team under Lampard, there are growing calls for the 18-year-old to earn his first senior call-up.
Should Scotland overcome Israel, they face the prospect of a visit to either Serbia or Norway in the final.
Clarke is well-stocked in midfield. Manchester United's Scott McTominay has returned to full fitness, and Kenny McLean of Norwich and Sheffield United's John Fleck will both stake claims for a starting berth while Callum McGregor, Ryan Christie and Ryan Jack are among those in contention for the next squad. But Gilmour's rise to prominence may just provide the spark that Scotland need.
One that got away for Rangers?
Analysis from Sky Sports' Kris Boyd:
"Billy made the decision to move down south and it was a brave call. Now you're seeing the benefits of him on the football pitch having made that big decision when he was younger.
"Everyone in Scotland knew there was a talented footballer in there, and it's great that he's now got the platform to show that. Everyone up in Scotland believes that he is going to become a superstar for Chelsea and for his country.
"I said a few months ago that he is someone who would give the Scotland squad a lift, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if he's called up for the Israel game when you see the ability he's got.
"He's 5ft 7in, has a slight build, so hopefully it will help Scottish coaches change their mindset on the type of frame required in order to make it."