The performance of Billy Gilmour against Liverpool earlier this week got plenty of people talking, and Cesar Azpilicueta has added his name to the list of those who have heaped praise on the young Scot, explaining why he is so comfortable in possession.

Gilmour was named man of the match for his display in our 2-0 FA Cup win against the runaway league leaders, a combination of ball-playing skills and tenacious tackling catching the eye of everyone watching on.

The 18-year-old’s performance came as no surprise to Azpilicueta, who has trained regularly with him in the past year-and-a-half. With a number of midfield players unavailable at the moment, Gilmour may not have to wait long for his next chance.

‘What I remember about him since the beginning is that he always wants to give solutions,’ said Azpilicueta.

‘He has a great personality and that’s why when he goes on the pitch he always wants the ball. The level he showed against Liverpool was amazing: the composure he had, the way he played, the way he defended, he fought for every ball.

‘It’s massive for us to have a player with this style of play. Now he has an opportunity and I am sure the way he played against Liverpool, and the way he behaves, he can be very important for us. He is still only 18 years old and he has a great future ahead of him. I am very pleased for him and now the only way he can go is improving every day.

‘The manager has shown great confidence in young players,’ added Azpilicueta, considering the wider emergence of Academy graduates this season.

‘They deserve to be here. I am very pleased they have this opportunity. They are the present and the future for the club. It’s important when they come through they feel confident and they have belief in their game.

‘They need to express themselves without fear, the same way they have been doing in the youth teams or on loan. When they come to our team they have to show personality. They have to tell everybody they want the ball, because communication is key.’

Whether Gilmour is involved today or not remains to be seen, but what we can be certain of is that Everton, managed by Carlo Ancelotti, will pose us a major threat in the search for three more vital league points. Had the season started when our former boss took over in December, they would be third in the table.

‘Everton are on good form,’ acknowledged the skipper. ‘We know we are facing a good team, a good manager, good players, and we have a test at home.

‘We have been quite inconsistent at home. It’s a good moment to turn it around and build on the Liverpool win and the team’s performance. The crowd needed a game like that and now we need to win again today.’

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