Arsenal release has opened Charlie Gilmour’s eyes to real life in football

PUBLISHED: 06:30 16 April 2020

Charlie Gilmour was at Arsenal for 14 years. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Images

Charlie Gilmour was at Arsenal for 14 years. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Images

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At the start of every season, Norwich City midfielder Charlie Gilmour sits down with his father and discusses his aspirations for the upcoming season.

The Scottish midfielder could be not clearer on what he wishes to achieve next – an opportunity in the Canaries first team to display his talent.

Whilst some of his closest friends in the Arsenal youth set-up have gone on to feature regularly for the first team this season, Gilmour found himself tossed onto football’s scrapheap after being released.

City picked him up, dusted him down and injected a fresh lease of life into a football career that had stalled.

Gilmour is currently operating at SC Telstar in the Dutch second division, having been signed a week after he committed his future to City.

Gilmour joined the Canaries last summer. Picture: Norwich City FCGilmour joined the Canaries last summer. Picture: Norwich City FC

Speaking about his spell overseas, the Scotland Under-19 international said: “I have enjoyed pretty much every minute of my time in the Netherlands so far. When I first arrived here I literally came from Arsenal to SC Telstar, and I had been at Arsenal all my life.

“At Arsenal you get the best treatment and everything is of the highest quality, and because they are one of the biggest clubs in the world you get everything handed to you on a plate in terms of best facilities and coaches.

“Arriving at SC Telstar was very different but it taught me the real world really, and I did not realise it was like this I feel that I have learned a lot more here in the Netherlands than I would have done if I had stayed at Arsenal.

“Overall it was definitely worthwhile coming here. I am delighted with the pathway I have chosen and I would definitely return to the Netherlands in future.

Charlie Gilmour in action for Arsenal in the Europa League. Picture: Adam Davy/PA ImagesCharlie Gilmour in action for Arsenal in the Europa League. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Images

“To be able to live 20 minutes from Amsterdam is really nice because when my family come over to visit me we can go and explore new places and do different things to what we would be in London or in Brighton.”

The midfielder spent 14 years at Arsenal, even making two senior appearances for the Gunners in the Europa League. Despite the disappointment of rejection, Gilmour reflects on his spell in north London as a valuable learning curve.

“Being at Arsenal from an early age was a privilege, and you get to see so many players coming through and you see it all from the start, from the under-6s to the under-23s,” Gilmour said.

“I started out at Arsenal with the under-6 team, and I remember I used to travel up from Brighton once a week on a Friday night. I remember it like it was yesterday. Then I went on to the under-7s and 8s teams, and we would go up two or three times a week.

Arsenal coach Freddie Ljungberg was an influential presence in Gilmour's development. Picture: Nick Potts/PA ImagesArsenal coach Freddie Ljungberg was an influential presence in Gilmour's development. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Images

“At the age of nine you were allowed to sign for the club. I signed straight away and I left the club when I was 20, so I spent 14 years at Arsenal in total.”

Development of young talent has become one of the Canaries’ mantras since the arrival of Stuart Webber as sporting director. Since, Max Aarons, Todd Cantwell, Ben Godfrey, Jamal Lewis and Adam Idah have all graduated from the club’s academy system, and the Scot is hoping to be the latest name to join that list.

Gilmour found his footballing education shaped partly by a Gunners legend who was involved in their ‘Invincibles’ season, a coach who proved influential to his development.

“My last year at Arsenal my manager was Freddie Ljungberg, and I still keep in contact with him now.

Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke has a track record for developing young talent. 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdNorwich City head coach Daniel Farke has a track record for developing young talent. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

“He was the person to deal with in terms of man-management. I could always talk to him and he is just so detailed in everything that he does.

“You just love talking to him because he is so into football, like you. He is definitely up there.

“I like people that speak to you and want you to improve as a player and are very detailed in their work. I find that to be more beneficial for me, and I think that those sort of coaches get the best out of me.”

Daniel Farke is a youth enabling coach who specialises in detail as well as attempting to extract any extra percentage he can from his players.

If Gilmour can prove his worth in pre-season ahead of the next campaign, then the German will be offered a chance in the same way those others have witnessed.

Gilmour will be given the chance to ‘walk through the door’, and the need to convert aspirations into reality will be pivotal for the Scottish midfielder.

“My goal is to hopefully get an opportunity at Norwich City and get as much game time as I can for the first team,” Gilmour told World Football Index.

“I want to keep improving as a player and play at the highest level that my ability tells me I can. That is what I strive for.”

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