Billy Gilmour Can Fill N’Golo Kante Place in Chelsea’s Midfield
Chelsea have young talents that breakthrough at Stamford Bridge this season, all under Frank Lampard’s youth revolution. Reece James has been electric over the pitch, Mason Mount has shown his real midfield quality and Tammy Abraham has scored goals in abundance, coming up as the club’s top scorer this season.
With the entirety of the young talent coming through in west London, it could be anything but difficult to overlook the most recent talent coming up the ranks. Regardless of being only 18 years of age, only making his debut last August and being moderately obscure outside of the UK, there’s one young talent who has been especially striking.
That man – or kid – is Billy Gilmour.
Gilmour has been on Chelsea’s books since 2017, when they signed the then 16-year-old from his old hometown club Rangers. He got his first taste of silverware at the club in his debut season, helping the Blues win their ninth FA Youth Cup title.
Gilmour youth performances were great, something that Gilmour figured out how to replicate in the progression up to the first team. This season has genuinely been his discovery at Stamford Bridge, beginning with his six-minute appearance in the 2-2 draw with Sheffield United. The outcome marred an amazing accomplishment in his career, however he was allowed the chance to exhibit his skills to the Stamford Bridge faithful three and a half weeks later.
Gilmour took advantage of that lucky break, and how.
He featured in Chelsea’s 7-1 Carabao Cup whipping over Grimsby Town, stunning in midfield by showing his amazing passing range and effortlessness ready. Despite the fact that it was a League Cup jumble against a League Two outfit, the exhibition was in any case exceptional.
The display against Liverpool and Everton in March was truly where Gilmour earned his deserved praise, two man of the match performances in phenomenal displays at Stamford Bridge.
Gilmour has proven his value in his restricted minutes of first-team football, and has earned his spot as a future staple of Chelsea’s midfield. All things considered, for a 18-year-old to procure seven first-team appearances in a capable top six midfield, he must be very special.
The Scotsman will be a future star and a first-team regular in Chelsea’s midfield, however the question remains: where will he come through?
The position that Chelsea are sorted, is their midfield. Jorginho and Mateo Kovačić have been splendid this season – particularly the last mentioned, who is ready for the club’s player of the year award. Ross Barkley has certainly exceeded expectations whenever given the opportunity this season, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be better than anyone might have expected once he comes back from his year-long cutback through injury.
That leaves N’Golo Kanté.
There’s no questioning the Frenchman’s ability and quality as a midfielder. Since joining Chelsea in 2016, Kanté has won the Premier League, FA Cup and Europa League, including the World Cup with France in his time at Stamford Bridge.
He’s been a real resource for the Blues these most recent four years, but to what extent does he have left with that equivalent worth?
It’s been a very difficult season for Kanté, whose fourth season has been hampered by injuries. His last appearance came in the 2-0 annihilation to Manchester United in February, missing a total of 16 games due to being sidelined with ankle and muscle issues.
Kanté’s count of 22 appearances in all competitions is his lowest ever for a season, an amazingly low number for a man who had played at least 89.5% of league games each season throughout the previous eight years. The most league games he had missed before the present season was four-he’s missed 11 this year alone.
Injury is starting to get the best of Kanté, and at 29 years of age, those injuries will turn out to be progressively continuous and all the more exorbitant. Nobody can question his ability and what he has accomplished for Chelsea, but in a competitive midfield with seven magnificent options, Kanté might be in sight of the light at the end of the blue passage.
It is not necessarily the case that that Kanté is done and not great any longer – a long way from it. What is significant however is recognizing Gilmour as a capable future star for Chelsea, and seeing the potential for him to proceed with the inheritance of the Blues’ midfield. Under the guidance and mentoring of Frank Lampard, he will be outstanding amongst other midfielders around.
With Gilmour getting through and Kanté battling for fitness, the Scotsman will be the ideal heir to the World Cup winner’s throne. He’s positively got the capacity and qualities to do as such, and offers a similar adaptability of having the option to play over the midfield as Kanté. The pair are fundamentally the same as, and that is the reason it works so well.
If Gilmour proves to be Kanté’s replacement, the Frenchman shouldn’t leave in any cruel manner. There’s no rush to do so, but now is a decent time to start that progress and help slide the change into the team’s style and tactics. He has few good years left in him, and remains a huge asset for Lampard.