Billy Gilmour: The Scottish Wizard

Billy Gilmour is arguably Chelsea's most notable rising star. Fast-tracked through the academy after signing for the Blues in 2017, Gilmour has made a sizeable impression on club coaches, players, pundits and the Stamford Bridge faithful.

Picture the scene: it's an evening FA Cup game in West London in early March and champions-elect Liverpool roll in to town.

By the end of the night, Jurgen Klopp's European Champions are well beaten 2-0, thanks in part to a young Scottish midfielder that controlled the game.

For Gilmour, the Blues youngster who turns 19 today, it was his breakthrough performance, the first since his debut in September 2019 against Sheffield United that really impressed.

Making an impression

Hard not to notice was the grace and ease with which Gilmour approached the game. Footage of his nonchalant turn past Fabinho, known to be one of the Premier League's very best, quickly went viral.

His performance caused pundits to croon. Even the relatively apathetic Roy Keane - a man not known for getting carried away - described Gilmour's performance as 'world class'.

Keane told Sky Sports: "As the game started I literally got out of my seat - which I very rarely do - and I thought who is this guy in midfield?"

"There are certain traits you want from a midfielder, quality on the ball, footballing intelligence, composure. He had everything," Keane said. "It was one of the best performances I've seen for a long time. A world class player, that's what he looked like."

Five days later, the young midfielder earned another man of the match performance in a 4-0 dispatching of Everton.

It was another performance that earned the Scot high praise and catapulted him to the forefront of Chelsea's future plans as they attempt to supplement first team success with academy graduates.

Reece James, Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Callum Hudson-Odoi are all first team players, products of Chelsea's renowned academy, but since the introduction of Chelsea's number 47, all are arguably now held in lower regard in terms of ability.

While the performances against the two Merseyside clubs may have been what caused Chelsea and football fans the world over to take notice, many have viewed Gilmour as a future star for some time.

Glasgow to London - Gilmour signs for Chelsea

In 2016, his boyhood club Glasgow Rangers, then under now QPR boss Mark Warburton, quickly earmarked Gilmour for success. Warburton invited the 16-year-old Gilmour to train with the first team. Chelsea took note and not long after, he swapped the blue of Rangers, for the blue of Chelsea.

His progression in at Cobham in the Blues' academy was quick. Marking his debut with a goal, he became a key part of Jody Morris' side that won the 2018 FA Youth Cup, scoring in the final against Arsenal.

The midfielder's success was not only limited to his club, since he first represented Scotland at U15 level, Gilmour was crowned 'breakthrough player' in the 2018 edition of the prestigious Toulon Tournament.

It is this continued ability to step up to the occasion that earned him a permanent place in the first team squad in February of this year, as well as a contract until 2023.

With Chelsea now in a position to spend heavily in the transfer market, it will be up to Gilmour to cement his place in the first team. On form and his trajectory so far, all indications suggest that he will.