Just shy of 18 months ago Billy Gilmour announced himself to the world.
In an FA Cup clash against Premier League champions elect Liverpool amidst a midfield crisis at Chelsea, the young Scot laid claim to the Stamford Bridge turf.
Gilmour showed a coolness that belied his years and outshone Fabinho in the centre of the pitch after being handed his debut by Frank Lampard.
“Billy showed today that he is absolutely comfortable at this level, now,” said Lampard after Gilmour’s display in March 2020.
“I am the first not to get carried away but if he can play like he played tonight then he is comfortable at the level he can get himself around the team now. The players know that. They can sense good players.”
At the age of 20, he has accrued just 22 Chelsea first-team appearances. When you dictate play against a top side at such a young age, that number may not seem enough. A loan move to Norwich may not quite have the glamour of Champions League nights, but they are not frightened to play football.
That will give Gilmour a chance to remind everyone of his best skills.
The midfielder told Sky Sports: “Norwich play football that suits my style, playing out from the back and wanting to keep the ball. For me, this was the perfect opportunity. This is my kind of style of play where I want to play out, get on the ball and make things happen.
“When I was speaking to the boss, he was just saying that he sees me in this position in midfield or he sees me in that position in midfield, it just depends on the formation. He has been really good with me and I am learning under him every day.”
Some of the Blues’ best players are competing with Gilmour for a spot in the middle. The likes of Jorginho and N’Golo Kante have been mentioned in relation to this year’s Ballon d’Or, while Mateo Kovacic isn’t a bad third option.
The former Rangers trainee needs time to continue to develop, and Norwich have shown they can offer that before.
Tottenham’s Oliver Skipp spent last season with the Canaries in a not too dissimilar role. Skipp impressed and featured in 45 Championship games before returning to Hotspur Way with the ambition of making Tottenham’s first team this season. That role is there to be filled, and Gilmour can perhaps do it better.
Gilmour added: “That is why I have come here.
“I think the most times that I would play for Chelsea was two games in a row. I had to come out and get more experience of first-team football. I need regular football to develop. If I am playing week in and week out I will become stronger, sharper, I will become more aware.”
He is hoping that a good loan will lead the way to back to Chelsea, where he can then “see what happens”.
But first, the start of the Premier League season: Gilmour will again make a club debut against Liverpool.
He may be considered an underdog on Saturday, but he should not be. At Carrow Road, on his full Norwich debut, he can remind the world just what he is capable of.
Source by Football London