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Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has admitted he was too conservative throwing Billy Gilmour into the first team.
According to the boss, Gilmour was ready for a much bigger role long before he was finally thrown into the starting XI.
“We’ve obviously had a few young players come through this year and that’s given me great pleasure,” Lampard told Sky Sports.
“They’re great to work with. Young players are like sponges, they want to come in and they want to learn and Billy probably gives me as much pleasure as anyone because when you look at Billy he can be sort of quite slight in terms of his size, he’s young, he’s quiet, he’s polite.
“But when you train day-to-day throughout the season – and Billy moved over to the first team building a while ago because he just had to – he just trained at such a [high] level.
“If you have a possession in training or a game or a simple passing, you talk about attitude and doing the basics right and learning that as a young player, in the modern day it can get lost a little bit. Can you do the real basics right? And Billy does them day in, day out.
“People probably think I threw him in against Liverpool towards the end there but he probably deserved to play a little bit earlier in terms of how he was training and that was probably me being a little bit conservative with him.
“And then the minute he got in there he showed the replication of that, doing the passing drills right, being the brightest player in training. And he went and did it against Liverpool, went and did it against the best team in the country.
“So he has now set a benchmark, he now has to – after this break – come back and go on to have the career he started to show that he could have.
“I’m pretty sure he will because of his attitude, his family and his surroundings are really good. And he has the talent. But it was a real pleasure to see someone come in the right way, doing the real midfield basics.
“I don’t want to sound like he’s not a talented player, because I think the basics of receiving the ball and turning it round the corner and making all the right decisions in a game are not easy. The simple things are actually sometimes the hardest. And Billy has those.”