Thomas Tuchel has admitted blocking a loan move for Billy Gilmour and told Scotland to pick the youngster for the summer’s European Championships.
Gilmour was looking for a temporary move in January, but new boss Tuchel firmly slammed the door shut.
Scotland Under-21 midfielder Gilmour broke through in style under Frank Lampard last season at Chelsea. He put in a couple of stunning performances against Liverpool and Everton, but later picked up a serious injury.
Gilmour, who recently played for the Under-23s, now sits behind N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in Tuchel’s Stamford Bridge pecking order.
The 19-year-old has the talent to grace Scotland’s senior squad but currently not the stage to showcase that ability – but Tuchel believes he still merits a call-up.
Asked if denying Gilmour a loan in January was an error, Tuchel replied: “It’s absolutely no mistake. It was unfortunately not his choice, it was my choice.
“The choice was made for Chelsea and not for the personal goals of Billy. He accepted it in a five-minute talk, he had no problem with it.
“I actually hope he knows how much I appreciate him as a person and as a footballer.
“He has three big problems. N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho are three big problems.
“They are never injured and they perform on a level in central midfield that is not easy to compete with. This is the only thing.
“I have no trust issue with him and I have no problem with attitude.
“I can only strongly recommend the Scottish national team to nominate him because this guy trains on the highest level. They should not be worried about his ability to compete.”
Former Rangers youth star Gilmour will be available for action if required in Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final against Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge.
Tuchel admitted he has already sought out Gilmour for several chats, almost apologising for not being able to find a regular place for him in Chelsea’s match squads.
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“We take the decisions for Chelsea and the squad is by far not too big; I feel Billy is a strong part of the squad,” said Tuchel.
“It is hard for him and we talk now several times because sometimes he does not make it to the 18 because we play with two central midfielders and I already have one of the three guys I mentioned on the bench.
“I go for other options to cover other possibilities during a match but it does not mean when you are out of the squad like Billy, that you first have to find your way back to the bench, then you have to find your way back for five minutes, then you can start.
“You can start right away the next game. It can happen when you train in a positive attitude like Billy and with the quality he shows.
“This is the situation. Nothing has changed. I am super happy he is here. We need four strong midfielders.”