Thomas Tuchel has reportedly decided to relegate Billy Gilmour into Chelsea’s development squad, at least for Monday evening against Leicester City.
Football.london reports that 19-year-old, who has featured just once since Thomas Tuchel took charge at Stamford Bridge, will line-up against Leicester’s Under-23s at the Foxes’ training ground.
Gilmour’s solitary appearance under the German coach was in the FA Cup win over Barnsley. And in fact he has been included in the Premier League matchday squad on just two occasions under Tuchel.
Tuchel has preferred Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, and N’Golo Kante in his central midfield and Tuchel has admitted Gilmour is fourth choice.
The new Chelsea boss did though block a January loan exit for the Scotland Under-21 star and said he was “very close” to the first team.
“We decided to keep Tino Anjorin and Billy Gilmour with the group. Because I like a lot of what I see from the two guys. Billy is very, very close [to the side] in terms of quality, work ethic and personality. He is very, very close,” said Tuchel.
“So we decided very very quickly, it was not even a decision.”
Gilmour announced himself on the Blues stage 12 months ago with a brilliant performance in a 2-0 FA Cup win over Liverpool. He was named man of the match in the game and afterwards Frank Lampard said: “What an incredible performance for a young player. He was a calm head in that first five or 10 minutes. He’s a throwback of a midfielder.”
However, Gilmour underwent knee surgery in July which has derailed his rapid rise at Stamford Bridge.
Lampard said the youngster would go on to be a “huge player” for Chelsea, but Tuchel though has been unable to give Gilmour much game time. He will though get a chance to impress tonight against Leicester’s development side.
“As a player, he has a lot of qualities,” Tuchel said last month. “He is very self-confident in our training games, is very strong on the ball, is a very strong passer, and is very smart in finding positions.
Gilmour fourth choice
“He has all abilities – and the physical ability – to play for us in the first team. We have a strong midfield and he is clearly, right now, one of four players for central midfield.
“The other three players are [Mateo] Kovacic, Jorginho, and N’Golo Kante.
“That means it is not easy for Billy to find his place and he is the number four right now in my head. To be the number four for two positions is a pretty good start for Billy.
“I wanted him to stay [in January] because he has a big impact in training games and his quality is obvious.
“We are happy to have him and are absolutely ready to push him and support him on his way.”