Gilmour has chance to show Lampard he must stay at Chelsea in January

The teenage midfielder is set to start for the first time this season in tonight’s Champions League dead rubber against Krasnodar

It will be an opportunity to make an impression ahead of the January window when Lampard will decide if he is to remain at Stamford Bridge for the rest of the campaign – or further his development by getting more first team football elsewhere. 

Chelsea’s manager refused to be drawn on his plans for Gilmour yesterday – but is conscious of the need to maintain a deep squad in a season that has been condensed by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

He cited hamstring injuries for Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi as a reminder of how quickly Chelsea could find themselves stretched as they mount challenges for the Premier League title and in Europe. 

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Yet it was notable that he did not rule out the possibility of Gilmour going out on loan. 

“I don’t want to have that thought or conversation until the window opens and it is not open now,” said Lampard. “I value him a lot in this squad. 

“You say we have options in midfield, that quickly changes as we have seen with the winger situation. Hakim gets injured at the weekend and Callum gets injured in training and the numbers are not so great. I will make that decision going forward.”

Gilmour made a stunning impact when breaking into the team in March – prompting Keane to say: “There are certain traits you want in a midfielder – quality on the ball, football intelligence, composure. He had everything. 

“The way he started, he was like a world-class player.”

The 19-year-old’s progress has been hampered by the serious knee injury that ruled him out of the start of the season. But Lampard’s decision to loan out midfielders Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the summer ensured fewer obstacles in the way of Gilmour’s path to the first team.

Still the signing of Kai Havertz, N’Golo Kante’s return to full fitness and Mason Mount’s outstanding form mean playing time is likely to be limited. 

“The competition for places in this team, it is very hard to get game time,” he said. “But I have to show why I should be in the team.  “Chelsea are a massive team and everyone knows the standards. 

“There has been a lot of new signings, good players, good additions to the squad and you can see the competition for places in the team is a good thing and that’s why we are playing so well.”

Regarding a potential loan, Gilmour added: “I am a Chelsea player right now. I don’t know what the future holds, but I am proud to be here and playing games and will have to wait to see what happens.”

An added incentive is next summer’s Euros and the chance to be a part of the Scotland squad that has reached its first major tournament in 22 years. 

He said: “I need to work hard here and get my opportunity – and when I do, hopefully, I take it and play well. With Scotland I need to play well here to get in the team.”

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