Frank Lampard says Billy Gilmour impressed in Chelsea training long before his impressive performances last month.
Midfielder Gilmour burst onto the scene with two man-of-the-match displays in early March in wins over Liverpool and Everton, with the 18-year-old Scot earning plaudits both inside and outside of Chelsea.
Here, speaking on The Football Show, Chelsea boss Lampard explained how Gilmour’s focus on the basics is outstanding, and how he was knocking on the door for a starting spot long before last month…
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‘He just had to train with the first team’
Lampard revealed how it was difficult not to move Gilmour from academy training to the first team, such was his high level of performance at Cobham, and insists the young midfielder does the basics right, often the hardest thing to do…
“We’ve had a few of the young players come through this year, and that has given me great pleasure, as they are great to work with. They want to come in, they want to learn, and they’re like sponges.
“Billy has given me as much pleasure as anyone. When you look at Billy, he can be quite slight in terms of his size, he’s quite quiet, young and polite, but then you train day-to-day with him through the season.
“He moved over to the first team quite a while ago to train because he just had to, because he just trained at such a level. If you have a possession in training, or a small game, just simple passing, whatever, you talk about having the attitude there and getting the basics right.
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“In the modern day it can get lost a bit, doing the basics right, and he does them day in, day out. I’m pretty sure he will because his attitude and family he has around him is good, and he has the talent.
“It was a real pleasure seeing someone come in and do the real midfield basics – and that’s not to say he’s not a talented player – but the basics of receiving the ball, turning it around the corner, and making all of the right decisions in the game.
“Those are sometimes some of the hardest things to do, and he does them well.”
Threw him in? I was conservative, if anything!
Making only his second start for the first team, Gilmour put in a man-of-the-match performance in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Liverpool in the FA Cup in early March, but Lampard insists he could have thrown him in earlier…
“People probably think I threw him in against Liverpool in the FA Cup, but he probably deserved to play earlier with the way he was training, and it was probably me being a little bit conservative with him.
“And then the minute he got in there on the pitch, he showed the replication of that training, getting the passing drills right, being the brightest in training, and he went and did it against Liverpool, he went and did it against the best team in the country.
“He has now set a benchmark, and after this break has to try and come back and go on to have the career that he has started to show that he can have.”
Keane’s analysis spot on
Roy Keane’s glowing review of Gilmour after the win over Liverpool surprised a few, including Lampard, with the former Manchester United midfielder admitting he looked like a “world-class player”
Keane said early in March: “I was sitting at home with a cup of tea and a bit of chocolate in front of me and I didn’t have the volume on. When the game started I got out of my seat, which I rarely do and I thought: ‘Who is this kid?'”
Lampard said on Monday: “I had to put my cup of tea down to hear Roy say something nice! Only joking, Roy Keane was a fantastic midfield player and probably won’t give credit unless it’s due, and it was due.
“I think Roy is right, I think he’s spot on, and Billy should be happy with that. He won’t go far wrong following something that a midfield player like Roy Keane says.
“Billy came with the right attitude and attributes, and a lot of that has to come from within. In terms of the basics, Billy has them, and that’s a great platform to build such a brilliant career.”
The future is bright…
Lampard says the current youth crop at Chelsea will have a big part to play in the club’s success going forward, and says he has tried to bring younger players through since arriving last summer…
“We’ve had another couple of young players – Tino Anjorin and Ian Maatsen – I don’t want to leave out others as they have the potential to come through.
“One of the first things we tried to do at Chelsea was to bring them in and train them, and give them the idea that if they train well in the academy it is flagged, not forgotten, and you can train with the first team.
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