City newboy Gilmour praised by Keane, Vieira, Lampard and Sir Alex Ferguson
- Credit: Norwich City/Matthew Usher
Billy Gilmour arrives at Norwich City with the praise of some of English football's biggest stars behind him.
The Scottish international completed his loan move to Carrow Road on Friday, with the Canaries having fended off interest from other top-flight clubs and Rangers to complete a swoop for the Chelsea midfielder.
In the last 18 months, few young players have been lauded to the extent of Gilmour, who is exciting former professionals, managers and pundits alike. Despite being only 20, Gilmour arrives in Norfolk as a European champion and having caught the eye in Scotland's 0-0 draw against England at Wembley a fortnight ago.
Here is what some of the biggest names in football have been saying about Gilmour since his senior debut for Chelsea:
'He looked like a world class player' - Roy Keane on Sky Sports ahead of Chelsea's game against Everton in March 2020
"From his performance the other night, he was fantastic," the ex-Ipswich Town boss told Sky Sports back in March 2020.
"I was sat at home with a cup of tea and a bit of chocolate in front of me and I didn't have the volume on. As the game started, I got out of my seat, which I very rarely do, and I thought 'who is this kid in midfield?'
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"There are certain traits you want from a midfielder. You obviously want them to be quality on the ball, football intelligence, composure. He had everything. It was one of the best performances I've seen in a long, long time. The downside for the kid now is that he has to back it up.
"His general play and the way the game started (made me stand up.) He looked like a world-class player. That's what he looked like. I thought it was one of the experienced lads and then I kept a close eye on him for the rest of the game and everything he did had quality written all over it.
"He looks a small kid, but he has a composure about him. I'm looking forward to seeing him again."
'I really loved his technical ability' - Patrick Vieira on ITV Sport after England 0-0 Scotland
"I think he had a terrific game. I really loved his technical ability. He loved to get on the ball. He's not quite physical and really strong but his personality allowed him to get on the ball and to make the game from the back.
"His teammates are not scared to give him the ball because they know how good he is. I think he has a really good future ahead of him."
'He is an emerging player' - Sir Alex Ferguson speaking at a Euro2020 event
"He’s another one that’s emerging,’ Sir Alex said about the youngster. ‘I saw him play for Chelsea towards the start of the season and he did well.
"He got an injury that held him back a bit, but he is an emerging player there’s no doubt about that. It’s good to see players like him coming through and the quality of players in England.
"We are blessed with some good young players coming through."
'A terrific little footballer' - Graeme Souness on ITV Sport on June 19 after England 0-0 Scotland
"He doesn't give the ball away. He's got that fantastic habit for a midfield player of passing the ball to the same colour shirt. He keeps the ball in tight spaces and kept Scotland ticking over.
"He's a fabulous little football player and when you factor in that last season he only made five starts in the Premier League for Chelsea, he's not played a lot of football and he came into what was a hothouse of a game - high tempo, loads of pressing - and he managed to stay there.
"He's just got that all round awareness of where people are all of the time and his first touch is generally away from the man who is marking him. He creates space for himself. England need someone like him desperately.
"He'll take the ball if the guy is standing next to him and his first touch will be away from him. He is an absolute delight. If you have someone in your team that will take the ball all the time and not lose it (it's a joy).
"For a 20-year-old to come in and play in that atmosphere with very few games under his belt this year, I thought it was an exceptional performance. He was the best player on the pitch (against England)."
'He isn't going to disappoint you' - Petr Cech speaking on BBC Sport
"Billy is a guy who rises to the occasion.
"Anytime you put him on the pitch, you know that he isn't going to disappoint you. He will be delighted with his debut but he faces these players in the Premier League. He has nothing to be worried about.
"He knows his quality."
'Fantastic' - Jose Mourinho on Talksport after England 0-0 Scotland
“The kid Gilmour in midfield, he made the difference. He was fantastic. He was always moving, always showing, he wanted the ball, he was turning under pressure. He linked the game much, much better."
'Billy gives me as much pleasure as anyone' - Frank Lampard on Sky Sports in April 2020
"The young players are like sponges, they want to come in and they want to learn. Billy gives me as much pleasure as anyone because when you look at him, he is quite slight in terms of his size, he's young, he's quiet and he's polite.
"When you train day to day during the season, and Billy moved to the first-team building a little while ago because he just had to. He trained at such a level. If you had a possession (drill) or a game, he would always do the basics right. In the modern game, that can get lost a little bit.
"Billy does them day in, day out. People think I threw him in against Liverpool but he probably deserved to play a little bit earlier with how he was training. The minute he got in there, he showed the replication of doing the passing drills right, being the brightest player in training and he went and did it against Liverpool.
"He has now set a benchmark and now he has to go on and have the great career he has shown he could have. I'm pretty sure he will because his attitude, family and surroundings are really good and he has loads of talent.
"It was a real pleasure to see somebody come in and do it the right way, doing the real midfield basics. The basics of receiving the ball, turning it round the corner and making all the right decisions during a game are not easy. The simple things are sometimes the hardest and Billy has those."
'Personality, intelligence and potential' - Cesc Fabregas via Twitter
"Fantastic. Personality on the ball, intelligence in his decision making, always making angles to offer himself and has that bit of aggression in him which is very important especially in the Premier League.
“When you have the quality but also the desire, the work ethic and the intelligence, then is when you can see real potential in a young player. He has all of that.”