Billy Gilmour set for UEFA European Championships bow
When Scotland last qualified for an international tournament in 1998, Billy Gilmour was not even born. The 2001-born starlet grew up in Ardrossan, hoping to play for his boyhood heroes Rangers. However, the club’s financial situation and their presence outside of the English top-flight meant that Gilmour’s talent was not likely to be retained. He headed for the Chelsea academy at the age of 17, and quickly made a huge impression on the coaching stuff.
At the age of 15, Gilmour was already training with the Rangers first-team under Mark Warburton. The chance to play for Chelsea, though, was too much and the youngster was off to join one of the best academies in the world. Now, the Irvine-born star is set to play a role in his national teams UEFA Euro 2020 campaign.
At just 19, the youngster has never been capped at senior level for Scotland. However, he has amassed more than 20 caps at various youth levels, including 12 caps at Under-21 level. As part of the 26-man squad, though, Gilmour is almost certain to get a chance to make his debut either just before or during the actual Euros campaign.
What does the future hold for Billy Gilmour?
The young Scot was kept on by present coach Thomas Tuchel as he believed he would learn more from being around the first-team. Privately, too, it was also hoped he would get game time with the first-team as the season drew to an end. With Chelsea in a fight until the last day to reach the UEFA Champions League spots, as well as reaching the 2021 Final in Istanbul alongside an FA Cup Final, there has been precious little opportunity for the starlet.
Still, that has not been enough to put off national team head coach Steve Clarke, a former Chelsea player and coach, from giving the youngster a chance to get some senior gametime with Scotland this summer. When asked about the decision to call-up Gilmour, Clarke said: “I think the recent games Billy has played are quite important. He has been back in that Chelsea team working hard and obviously I get good feedback from people at Chelsea. I know how highly they regard Billy. He is a top talent, and he was in my thoughts going back to when all this kicked off.
“He was in the Chelsea team under Frank Lampard and doing really well, so he has always been in my thoughts. Now he has got a chance to show us in camp how good he is.
“He has played at a really high level in the English Premier League. I know how difficult it is to get into the Chelsea team. He is up against a lot of good competition there and any time he plays he does well. He doesn’t look out of place and now he has a chance to come with us and show us his talents on the training pitch up close.”
For Gilmour, for Chelsea, and for Scotland, then, this could a be a crucial summer in the young star Billy Gilmour bid to make good on his absolutely enormous potential.