London (AFP) – Ross Barkley has praised teenage midfielder Billy Gilmour after his sparkling performance in Chelsea’s 2-0 FA Cup win against Liverpool.
The 18-year-old Scot belied his rookie status to boss Tuesday’s fifth-round victory over the Premier League champions-elect, deservedly winning the man-of-the-match award.
He mopped up in defence, set up attacks and even nutmegged Brazil midfielder Fabinho in a virtuoso coming-of-age performance at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard said he had absolute trust in Gilmour, describing him as “huge in talent”.
The club’s injury crisis could pave the way for the youngster’s full Premier League debut against Everton this weekend.
Barkley has offered a ringing endorsement of the former Rangers youth star.
“Billy was ready for his chance against Liverpool and he took it,” he said.
“With injuries it gives opportunities for other lads to take and the manager is willing to put lads in. If you deserve the chance and play well you get in the team.”
He said Gilmour impressed every day in training.
“For a young lad he is really mature with his ability on the ball, he makes the right decision most of the time,” he said. “He is similar to Jorginho. He is a quality player and a good addition to the squad.
“He recently moved into the first-team changing room with us and he’s settled in really well and long may it continue. He is always asking questions as well, which is a sign of a player that wants to improve and do well for the club.”
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