Chelsea's Billy Gilmour must be in next Scotland squad, says Steven Smith

Billy Gilmour of Chelsea during the FA Cup Fifth Round match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge on March 03, 2020 in London, England. 0:44
Former Rangers full-back Steven Smith says Steve Clarke must include Chelsea's Billy Gilmour in his squad to face Israel in the Euro 2020 play-offs - and that it wouldn't be a risk despite his age and inexperience

Former Rangers full-back Steven Smith would have no worries if Steve Clarke included Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour in his Scotland squad for this month’s Euro 2020 play-off against Israel.

The 18-year-old has been heavily tipped for a first call-up to the senior national team and was watched by Clarke during last Tuesday's 2-0 FA Cup win over Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.

Gilmour followed that up with a second consecutive man-of-the-match award in Sunday's 4-0 success against Everton in the Premier League.

Although the teenager has only made seven appearances for Chelsea - and played just three first-team games in the last four months - Smith believes he is ready for international football.

Smith told Sky Sports News: "In my opinion, it's quite simple. He's got to be in there. In that area of the pitch we are relatively strong so there is real competition for places in the middle of the pitch.

Keane on Gilmour 1:35
Roy Keane was full of praise for Billy Gilmour, who marked his first Premier League start for Chelsea with a man-of-the-match display in a 4-0 win over Everton

"When you're playing at that level in the Premier League, you've got to be in the Scotland squad. I don't think it would be a risk.

"The biggest worry would probably be if he could handle it physically but I think he's shown in the games against Liverpool and Everton that he can.

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"Also, when he does take the ball, he's really comfortable in possession so I would have no worries about that whatsoever."

Billy Gilmour impressed for Chelsea against Everton
Image: Gilmour was watched by Scotland head coach Steve Clarke as Chelsea beat Liverpool 2-0 in the FA Cup

Like Smith, Gilmour began his career at Rangers and has made constant progress since moving to Chelsea in the summer of 2017 at the age of 15.

Scotland have a wealth of in-form midfielders to choose from, including the likes of Scott McTominay, the returning John McGinn and Celtic's Callum McGregor.

John Fleck, Ryan Jack and Stuart Armstrong are also contenders but Smith believes Gilmour can compete with all of them for a place.

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

He added: "I think the performance levels he is putting in and the level he is playing at is outstanding for someone of his age.

"With all the praise he is getting, I think he is the type of character that I don't think he will let that faze him.

"I think he will continue to do all the right things in terms of working hard. He's under a management team at Chelsea that will look after him."

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