Young Billy Gilmour, now fully recovered from offseason knee surgery, made his first start since Project Restart as Chelsea drew 1-1 with an enthusiastic Krasnodar side at Stamford Bridge last night.
The result aside, it was a pretty decent Blues game, highlighted by the two 19-year-olds, Gilmour and Tino Anjorin. But while Anjorin is expected to stay on the sidelines of the first team for now (mostly training and occasional appearance), bigger things are already expected from Gilmour. He already did the sideline thing last season, and did it so well, so now is the time to take the new (baby) step forward – which, in this case, doesn’t mean a loan (which has been rumored a bit lately).
This is precisely what Lampard was alluding to in his post-game comments, speaking of finding the appropriate path for the kid for the rest of the season.
“I thought Billy was exceptional. The way he played today and how he trains, I see him growing up with us. He’s going to be a Chelsea player so it’s just a matter of making sure the path is right for him.
“He traced this path well last season and then got injured at the wrong time, but playing like he did today he has a lot to offer us.
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
Gilmour has been deployed as one of two ‘No.8’s’ in the three-way midfield, though most see his lead role as N’Golo Kanté’s replacement at the base of the triangle. But Gilmour’s versatility means he can do both, unlike (or at least a lot better), say, Jorginho, who will likely never play the more dynamic advanced roles.
Gilmour proving to everyone here that he absolutely can play as an 8. For some reason, there was some discussion about this earlier this year.
– Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) December 8, 2020
The midfielder of choice for Lampard at the moment is clearly Kanté, Mason Mount and Mateo Kovačić – with Kai Havertz looking for form, more possibly needed on the wing – which should give Gilmour plenty of opportunities in the weeks and months to come.
It seems to be the right path for him and for us.