Teen sensation Billy Gilmour has vowed to prove he is not just along for the ride at Chelsea after two man-of-the-match performances in a week.
The 18-year-old caught the eye in both the midweek 2-0 FA Cup win over Liverpool and Sunday’s 4-0 thumping of Everton – his first Premier League start.
“It’s a bit surreal still, coming on and playing with top players,” Gilmour told Chelsea TV.
“But this is something I’ve been dreaming of, and when I go out there I need to show that I’m not just a passenger. I need to be there and do something different to keep my position in the team.”
Gilmour said established players at the club had helped him settle.
“That’s something you always need as a young player, that confidence. If you don’t have that confidence you’re not going to play well, you’re going to be a bit under pressure, be a bit naive.
“But I loved it and the first-team boys do really well with the youngsters.”
Frank Lampard has now handed out a club-record eight debuts to academy products at Stamford Bridge this season.
Striker Armando Broja’s late cameo off the bench against Everton meant Lampard surpassed the seven debuts dished out by Ted Drake in the 1956⁄57 season.
Tino Anjorin was another youngster to feature against Everton and the winger is among that record eight-strong contingent.
Mason Mount, Reece James, Marc Guehi, Tariq Lamptey and Ian Maatsen are the others to enjoy first-team debuts under Lampard, while Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori have established themselves as first-team regulars.
Ex-Rangers youth star Gilmour acknowledges the trust of Lampard and his coaching staff in helping usher the young talent through the Stamford Bridge ranks.
“You can see that the manager will give the young players an opportunity and it’s up to us to take it when we get the chance,” he told the Chelsea website. “It’s exciting to be at Chelsea and I just want to take my opportunity when it comes.”