Billy Gilmour has signed a new four-year contract at Chelsea following his senior debut in the Premier League last month.
The Scotland Under-21 international featured in Frank Lampard’s first two pre-season games in Dublin back in July before returning to start the season with our development squad.
He has impressed in midfield for Andy Myers’s young side with his tenacious and energetic displays, scoring away at Manchester City in PL2 before Lampard named him on the bench, then brought him on, against Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge.
‘It’s really exciting for me and my family to sign this four-year deal with the club,’ Gilmour told the official Chelsea website after putting pen to paper until at least 2023.
‘Frank has come in and everyone is buzzing, training is really good and there’s a high standard to everything we do. There are exciting times ahead and hopefully I can work hard to get more opportunities as well.’
Gilmour became the first Scot in 17 years to play for Chelsea when he replaced Tammy Abraham with six minutes remaining against the Blades last time out. The 18-year-old was understandably delighted to make his senior bow and reflected on the show of faith placed in him by Lampard in the crucial final moments of such a significant game.
‘It was amazing to make my debut and for the gaffer to show his trust in me in a tight game,’ he continued. ‘A draw wasn’t the result we wanted but he showed his faith in me and I thank him for that. Now I need to make sure it wasn’t just a one-off and keep showing him I’ve got a lot more to give.’
A chance meeting in the Academy at Cobham as he sealed his 2017 switch from Rangers was the moment Gilmour first met Lampard, a midfield idol in the eyes of the teenager. Neither of them could have predicted then that their paths would cross again so soon and so significantly, particularly as Gilmour remembers being left in awe by the Chelsea legend at the time.
‘When I first signed, I was having a meeting with Jody Morris [then Under-18s manager] in the Academy and Frank actually interrupted to speak to Jody,’ Gilmour explained. ‘I think he was agreeing to meet him later that day for dinner.
‘It was surreal when Jody asked him to come in and speak to me – I was a bit starstruck just sitting there and seeing Frank Lampard walk in the room and start talking to me!’
That story neatly illustrates the rapid rise of Gilmour in the two years since, from a somewhat startled Scottish 16-year-old to Lampard’s latest debutant. The Glaswegian follows Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mason Mount, Jamie Cumming and Marc Guehi in agreeing contract extensions this summer and his targets now are to make a continued individual impression on the senior setup, while also driving the development squad to achieve their collective goals after an unbeaten start to the campaign.
‘I was one of the younger players in the team last season but this year I want to make sure I’m one of the senior figures in the dressing room, make sure my standards are high and I’m pushing the team in the right way,’ he added on his involvement with our development squad.
‘We’ve got a good enough team and we’ve started really well so I don’t see why we can’t push on and challenge for the league. Individually, I want to make sure I’m involved with the senior team as much as I can be and try to push for more appearances.’
Gilmour could feature for the young Blues at Stamford Bridge on Friday as Myers’s men take on Brighton in Premier League 2. It was confirmed on Thursday that Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James are both set to play some part in the game.