You may be aware of 17-year-old Billy Gilmour. He has been excellent for both Chelsea’s Under 18s team and Development Squad and is recognised as one of Scotland’s brightest youth prospects.
On Wednesday, Billy was called up to train with Chelsea’s first-team, alongside some of the Premier League’s best players, as the Blues prepare for a visit from west London rivals Fulham.
But the question is, who exactly is Billy Gilmour and what could this mean for his future?
Who is Billy Gilmour?
You may have only recently heard of Billy’s rise, but he has been known for quite a while in his native Scotland. Born in 2001, Gilmour joined Rangers in 2009 and progressed through the youth ranks with the Glasgow outfit. As he got older, his quality was quickly recognised by the club, and by the age of 15, he was training with the first-team.
As he started to make a name for himself with the Gers, Billy was attracting the attention of some of Europe’s big dogs, with Manchester United and City, Arsenal, Bayern Munich and even Barcelona interested in securing the then 15-year-old’s services. But it was Chelsea who managed to sign him, for a reported fee of £500,000!
Pedro Caxinha, who at the time was Rangers manager, met with Gilmour’s family in an attempt to keep the central midfielder in Glasgow, but his mind was set, and in May of 2017 the deal was announced, with Billy officially signing in July later that year after his 16th birthday.
Now almost a year and a half into life in London, Billy Gilmour has settled in perfectly, and has since signed his first professional contract, and represented Scotland at Under 21s level.
A Potential First-Team Debut?
With Billy Gilmour making fast progress in his career, Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has invited the Scotsman to train with his first-team. Whilst he trains with the seniors, could he go one bigger and make his senior debut on Sunday against Fulham?
Well, that seems unlikely. Whilst you may expect Sarri would want to give him some time on the field, hence why he’s called him up to first-team training, some other of Chelsea’s younger stars have been struggling for playing time this season under the new gaffer.
18-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi is a prime example. During pre-season, whilst some of Chelsea’s main players where in Russia at the World Cup, Hudson-Odoi was given four consecutive starts, as the first-team took on Perth Glory, Inter, Arsenal and Man City.
Despite his age of just 17, the fans loved him and were very hopeful that more chances like this would come his way this season. But since the return of fellow wingers Willian and Eden Hazard, Cal has been limited to just two appearances off the bench this season, which Blues’ fans aren’t happy about.
Another is Ethan Ampadu. The 18-year-old can play in both central midfield and defence, and last season was given a number of chances with the first-team. And whilst Ethan regular features for the Welsh national team, he hasn’t played a single game for club this term.
When you take these stories into account, it’s hard to picture Billy on the pitch this weekend against Fulham. A loan is likely to be Gilmour’s best shot at earning game time on a weekly basis, an option that most Chelsea youngsters eventually take up.
This kid clearly has the potential to become a world-beater, so he won’t be wanting to spend what becomes season after season of loans away from Stamford Bridge, something which has saw many youths fail to reach their full potentials in the past.
A First International Cap?
Scotland qualified for the UEFA Nations League playoffs after beating Albania and Israel earlier this month. The ‘Tartan Army’ a closer to qualifying for their first major tournament in over two decades.
They boast a fair few of exciting youngsters as a potential new golden era dawns. Celtic’s Ryan Christie and Hamburg’s David Bates, who are impressing with their respective clubs, started both games for their country during the international break.
And whilst Billy is yet to make his mark at senior level, his time is bound to come around soon, whether that’s for Chelsea, a loan club or even the Scotland national team. He is definitely a name to remember and to look out for in the future.
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