Billy Gilmour chats Xavi and Andres Iniesta inspiration, playing Liverpool and modelling for Burberry

Sky Sports exclusive: The 18-year-old Chelsea midfielder joined Jamie Redknapp on The Football Show

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Speaking on The Football Show, Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour talks about modelling his game on Spanish legends, his man-of-the-match performance against Liverpool and being a child model for Burberry.

In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, Chelsea teenager Billy Gilmour reveals his footballing inspiration, gives an insight into his sensational display against Liverpool - and reveals his modelling pedigree.

The 18-year-old has caught the eye with mature midfield performances for Frank Lampard's youthful Chelsea side, with Sky Sports pundit Roy Keane even singing his praises after his Premier League debut against Everton.

Barcelona's Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta celebrate with the trophy after the UEFA Champions League Final football match against Juventus in June 2015
Image: Billy Gilmour says Barcelona legends Xavi and Andres Iniesta are two of his footballing inspirations

Speaking to Jamie Redknapp on The Football Show, Gilmour revealed the continental stars who had inspired him at a young age.

He said: "When I was young I used to watch Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi - everyone did. But when I started to analyse my game and think about who I would like to progress to be like, it was more like Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Cesc Fabregas - it was those players.

"It was something about how they passed the ball, receiving the ball, everything was sharp. Sergio Busquets too; when you watch Barcelona and you watch Busquets individually, everything happens around him.

"Those are the kind of players I looked up to, getting on the ball and making things happen."

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

Gilmour began his career at the Rangers academy in his native Scotland, before moving to London as a 16-year-old in July 2017. Less than three years later, and he is already involved in Chelsea's senior set-up.

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Reflecting on the move, he said: "When I was at Rangers, the youth coaches were amazing and helped me a lot. I went to a performance school in Scotland where you do individual training at an academy, so instead of going to a Geography class, you go and play football in that period.

"My Dad played football too and always told me to keep it simple, work hard, and you can't go wrong.

"At the time [when moving to Chelsea], I didn't really know what was going to happen. But when I went down, saw everything and they had a plan, it was unbelievable. It was a dream. I always wanted to go and play in the Premier League to test myself and see what my limit is.

"When I first came, I'd say I was more of an attacking midfielder, and then Jody Morris turned me into a deeper player. To get on the ball and start play is best for me, but I am happy playing anywhere."


'I didn't want to muck anything up'

It was an FA Cup game against Liverpool in March that really thrust Gilmour into the spotlight. On just his third start of the season and against one of England's best teams, he marshalled the midfield with experience beyond his years as Chelsea won 2-0.

Billy Gilmour in action during Chelsea's 2-0 win over Liverpool in the FA Cup
Image: Gilmour was impressive during a 2-0 FA Cup win against Liverpool last month

A few days later, the 18-year-old was handed his full Premier League debut in a Super Sunday encounter with Everton - rejuvenated under Carlo Ancelotti - but Gilmour produced a man-of-the-match performance to sweep another Merseyside visitor aside.

"Leading up to the games, I was always thinking about what I'm going to do," he said. "When the gaffer spoke to me, he said; 'Go out and play your own game', that gives you a lot of confidence to go out and do what you love.

Billy Gilmour impressed for Chelsea against Everton
Image: The midfielder was man of the match on his full Premier League debut against Everton in March

"Playing in the game [against Liverpool], there were parts that I felt were difficult, but when I got on the ball I felt good. I had players running off, so it was making it easy for me.

"It was a great, great game so I was happy to play well. And then receiving the man of the match, it was amazing. I never thought of it, I just wanted to play the game well, not muck up anything, and play the game right.

"To get first-team experience against Liverpool, the best team in the world right now, felt good."

So could a call up to the senior Scotland squad be next?

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Scotland U21 manager Scot Gemmill says senior boss Steve Clarke is happy for Gilmour to be selected for the U21s, amid his recent emergence at Chelsea

"Everyone knows my feelings about representing my country," Gilmour said. "Hopefully I'm not far off it. I just need to keep working hard and see where it takes me.

"After the Liverpool game, I swapped shirts with Andy Robertson. He came up to me after the game and said 'well done, you played really well, keep doing it and hopefully see you soon in the first-team squad'.

"That was great to hear that from the captain of the country. I then asked him if we could swap shirts and he said 'no problem, let's do it inside' so that was me buzzing."

'I've modelled for Burberry!'

He is impressing on the pitch but off it, Gilmour might have been a full-time model.

In a fun Q&A with Redknapp, the teenager recalls having once modelled for British fashion brand Burberry.

"I got a phone call from my agent, saying he got a call from Burberry asking if I'd like to do modelling," he explained. "So my Dad phoned me and asked, and I'm giving a bit back saying 'ah yeah, of course!', having some banter with him.

"And then I get a phone call from my agent saying 'OK we'll be meeting up with Burberry tomorrow then.' And I said 'why is that?' and my agent said 'did you Dad not tell you?'. I thought he was kidding!

"So I ended up doing a few shoots for Burberry. It was good, but I got a bit of stick.

"I was going home one day from Heathrow or Gatwick, and there's a Burberry shop there. I was walking to my flight, and up on the billboard, there I am. I had to take a picture and send it to my Dad!"

Redknapp's view: Gilmour a big talent

Frank Lampard Billy Gilmour
Image: Frank Lampard gives instructions to Gilmour

"I've spoken to Frank Lampard and Jody Morris about Billy; they've waxed lyrical about this young man - how down-to-earth he is, wants to learn, great attitude on and off the pitch - and, especially, talent.

"You don't want to heap too much pressure on young players but he's so talented on the ball. He looks so comfortable; the minute he moves, he manipulates it. He mentioned that he loves the likes of Iniesta, Xavi and Fabregas; you can see it in his game.

"The fundamentals of what he does are really good. I love how he plays round the corner into the frontman, wants to receive the ball, always available.

"He's a big talent for Chelsea and Scotland going forward - and a really well-rounded kid."

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