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Billy Gilmour: Chelsea's man of the match against Everton

Chelsea produced an emphatic performance to beat Everton 4-0 at Stamford Bridge with Billy Gilmour named as man of the match

Chelsea celebrate during their thrashing of Everton at Stamford Bridge

Billy Gilmour played a key role in Chelsea's 4-0 win over Everton at Stamford Bridge, earning huge praise for his performance on his full Premier League debut.

Others scored the goals but it was the 18-year-old midfielder who earned the man-of-the-match award from Alan Smith, on co-commentary for Sky Sports. "He hasn't tried to overcomplicate things," said Smith. "But he has always been positive in his passing, always being progressive, and normally finding a team-mate which is a happy trait to have."

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea's 4-0 win over Everton

Gilmour had impressed in the FA Cup victory over Liverpool on Tuesday evening and injuries to N'Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic presented an opening for him to follow that up with another start against Carlo Ancelotti's side.

However, Frank Lampard was keen to stress beforehand that the chance coming Gilmour's way was not entirely down to necessity. "He deserves to play," Lampard told Sky Sports.

"We have got injuries and suspension in the same area but I don't want that to be the reason Billy is playing. He's playing because he has trained well all season. I said that pre-Liverpool and he played very well against Liverpool. I expect more of the same. He's young so I don't want to heap too much on his shoulders but I believe in him."

Billy Gilmour completed more passes than any other player in Chelsea's win over Everton
Image: Gilmour completed more passes than any other player on the pitch

Praise from another midfield legend

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Premier League legend Roy Keane was full of praise for Gilmour

It wasn't just Lampard who gave Gilmour the big build-up. Another iconic midfielder, seven-time Premier League winner Roy Keane, had been so taken aback by his performance in midweek that he admitted that he'd been out of his seat watching him.

"He was fantastic," Keane told Sky Sports. "I was sitting in front of the TV having a cup of tea with a bit of chocolate in front of me. I didn't have the volume on but as the game started I literally got out of my seat which I very rarely do.

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"I thought, 'Who is this kid in midfield?' There are certain traits you want in a midfielder. Quality on the ball, football intelligence, composure. He had everything. It was one of the best performances I have seen in a long, long time.

Billy Gilmour impressed for Chelsea against Everton
Image: Gilmour built on his fine performance against Liverpool in the FA Cup

"It was just his general play. He was like a world-class player. That's what he looked like straight away. I thought he was one of their experienced lads and then I kept a close eye on him for the rest of the game. Everything he did throughout the game had quality written all over it. He looks a small kid but with big composure about him.

"The downside for the kid now is that he has got to back it up because he has started so well. Frank made the point there that it is OK coming in and doing well, he has got to keep that up now. It is a different type of test for him today."

How Gilmour impressed against Everton

It was a different test but the same result as Chelsea produced another confident performance to see off their Merseyside visitors. Gilmour did not score and he did not provide an assist but the Scot was at the heart of so much of his side's good work.

Indeed, he was an integral part of the build-up for Mason Mount's opener. That goal featured no fewer than 20 passes before the ball found the back of the net - the second-longest passing sequence leading to a Chelsea goal in the Premier League this season.

Billy Gilmour collects the ball in the build-up to Mason Mount's goal for Chelsea against Everton
Image: Gilmour dropped into space in midfield and was able to break the lines

His role in the second goal was just as important. Here, he dropped the shoulder on Richarlison after collecting a pass in midfield and - rather than look for a sideways option - he was prepared to break the lines and feed the ball into the feet of Olivier Giroud.

Giroud laid the ball off to Ross Barkley whose through-ball was neatly finished by Pedro. The pass by Gilmour that led to that goal was just one of the 41 he completed during a first half that completely took the game away from Everton. By the end, he'd made 74 of them, more than anyone else on the pitch.

Billy Gilmour threads a pass forward in the build-up to Pedro's goal for Chelsea against Everton
Image: Gilmour also threaded a pass forwards in the build-up to Pedro's goal

"Billy Gilmour has run the game," Jamie Redknapp told Sky Sports.

Others continued to join in the fun during the second half with Willian firing low into the corner from distance and Giroud continuing his renaissance by adding Chelsea's fourth. But Gilmour, who had received the biggest cheer when the teams were announced before kick-off, was always involved. His was the pass before the assist for the fourth.

Gilmour should have had his own assist late on after breaking forward from midfield. He showed great awareness to square the ball to fellow graduate Faustino Anjorin only for him to need too much time and the chance was gone. No matter. By that point, the home supporters at Stamford Bridge were chanting his name. Gilmour's impact was clear.

Billy Gilmour impressed for Chelsea on his full Premier League debut against Everton
Image: Gilmour impressed for Chelsea on his full Premier League debut

"He always looks to play forward," said Smith. "He lifts his head." Soon, the former England striker was speculating about the youngster's international future with the possibility of a European Championships to look forward to in the summer. "He will find a place in that Scotland team if he carries on being involved in this Chelsea side," he added.

For Gilmour and Chelsea, the focus will be on the role that he can play in the club's push in the Premier League and the FA Cup before then. There was a fear that Lampard's injury crisis in midfield could undermine Chelsea's finish to the season. Instead, thanks to Gilmour's assured performances so far, this team looks emboldened. What a start.

Gilmour's verdict on his debut

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Teenager Billy Gilmour was named man of the match on his first Premier League start as Chelsea beat Everton 4-0 at Stamford Bridge

"It was amazing," Gilmour told Sky Sports after the game. "A dream come true to make my full debut in the Premier League. But the most important thing of all was to get the three points and to continue winning. Hopefully, we can carry on that good form."

Lampard's verdict on Gilmour's debut

"With Billy, I always felt that the more he trained with us, the better he got very quickly so for me, when he plays, he's just going to get better," Lampard told Sky Sports afterwards.

"I'm not going to jump the gun because it's two outstanding performances in, but when you watch his intelligence and his receiving of the ball, even for the second goal with how he swivels on the ball, he's always checking his shoulder, he plays a simple pass but he plays it right and with the perfect weight and he'll put his foot in.

"The confidence of him today and his personality, it's been a great start. I'm not too worried about him because I know what he's like as a boy, he's a good one and he'll know the right things and has a big future, I hope."

Lampard added in his press conference: "He's receiving the ball in difficult areas of the pitch where if you don't move it quickly, our play could break down or if you give it away in those areas, it's dangerous. You need confidence to do that and Jorginho and Billy have it.

"The most pleasing thing for me with Billy today was that he showed those balls in the first half but when he stepped up and played as one of the higher midfield players, he instantly took it on board, arriving in their box, playing balls higher up the pitch. He showed that he can do both, which is a great thing for me in thinking about how the midfield looks at times."

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