Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has opened up on Billy Gilmour’s situation at the club, revealing why he opted against allowing the young midfielder to depart Stamford Bridge last month.
Speculation surrounding the future of Scottish international Gilmour was of course rampant throughout the January window.
This came with the 19-year-old, fresh off the back of a long-term injury, having found himself down the midfield pecking order in west London.
After making his return to the pitch late in November, Gilmour was afforded just 34 minutes of Premier League action over the course of the ensuing two months.
And even this came with Frank Lampard – the man under whom the gifted starlet began to truly make a name for himself last season – still on the Chelsea bench.
LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 03: Billy Gilmour of Chelsea and Takumi Minamino of Liverpool in action during the FA Cup Fifth Round match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge on March 03, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
In turn, upon Lampard being sacked, and Thomas Tuchel being introduced in his place, speculation only ramped up that Gilmour was set for an imminent January loan departure.
‘Wanted him to stay’
Evidently, however, upon the passing of last week’s winter deadline, a transfer was not forthcoming.
This came with the likes of N’Golo Kante, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech continuing to struggle in their respective pursuits of full fitness.
If the latest comments on the part of Thomas Tuchel are anything to go by, however, then it does not appear as though Gilmour was kept at Stamford Bridge simply to act as emergency backup for Chelsea’s more established stars.
Speaking in a press conference ahead of his side’s upcoming FA Cup meeting with Barnsley, the German tactician was drawn on the Scot’s situation, and why a loan exit was not sanctioned last month.
And Tuchel, after heaping praise on Gilmour, went on to confirm that he ‘wanted him absolutely to stay’, with the teen seemingly primed for action over the remaining months of the campaign:
‘For me, he represents everything a young guy from the academy should represent.’
‘He is humble. I feel that he is happy to be here. That he is living his dream and that he is ready to give everything to fulfil his dream.’
‘He gives me the exact right feeling. The exact perfect mix between being humble and being impatient and trying every training session to improve, to learn and not show too much respect.’
‘We have a strong midfield and right now he is one of four players for central midfield. The other three players are (Mateo) Kovacic, Jorginho and N’Golo Kante.’
LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 28: (l – r) Mason Mount, N’Golo Kante,Jorginho, Cesar Azpilicueta and Edouard Mendy of Chelsea appeal to to match referee, Stuart Attwell after Aston Villa’s first goal scored by Anwar El Ghazi (Not pictured) during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on December 28, 2020 in London, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
‘That makes it not easy for Billy to find his place, but he is the No4 right now in my head and to be the No4 out of two positions is a pretty good start for Billy.’
‘I wanted him absolutely to stay 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 help him on his way.’
Quotes via Goal