Former Arsenal midfielder eyes first team spot at Norwich City

Charlie Gilmour is looking to force his way into the first team picture at Norwich City. Picture: PA

Charlie Gilmour is looking to force his way into the first team picture at Norwich City. Picture: PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Norwich City midfielder Charlie Gilmour admits he has more chance of forcing his way into the first team picture at Carrow Road if they are relegated to the Championship.

The former Arsenal trainee has been on loan at Telstar this season, making 24 appearances for the Dutch second division side.

However, Gilmour admits he has one eye on the future and would like to be pushing for a place in Daniel Farke’s first team squad next season.

“I have more chance if they’re in the Championship,” said Gilmour, who signed a two-year contract at Carrow Road last summer with the option of another year after being released by Arsenal. “Obviously they’re not doing too great in the Premier League now.

“My ideal plan is hopefully to play in the Championship for them next year, have a good pre-season, impress the manager when I go back and try and play games in the Championship.”

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Gilmour made two first team appearances for the Gunners last season and admitted it had been something of a culture shock playing in Holland after 13 years in north London.

However, linking up with former Arsenal academy manager Andries Jonker at Telstar has helped ease the transition.

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“Arsenal didn’t offer me a contract so I had no choice,” he added. “It was hard. I was there for 14 years, that was all I knew. Literally, I just knew Arsenal.

“Now I’ve had to go into the real world. I knew it was going to be tough to find a new team at 20 but Norwich took me on.

“I played two years at Under-23s, they didn’t want me to play any more games there. I asked Andries if he could help me. He told me to leave it with him. A few weeks later he contacted me saying he will take the Telstar job.

“I have felt a bit down at times. No disrespect but you’re going from Arsenal to here. You have to stay focused, know there is a pathway for everyone, be patient.”

Jonker has been impressed at the progression Gilmour has made during their time together.

He told the Sun: “Charlie is one of the few who is similar on and off the pitch. He’s quiet, dedicated, hard-working, doing his job, very important in the team.

“I know he is alive but he never has the biggest word, never tells the others what to do, he just does his job. You should respect everybody’s character. Everybody in Holland can speak English but he had to integrate into the team.

“If necessary, he can make a real foul and doesn’t look annoyed. Give him a yellow card, it’s the same face.

“The most important quality: he plays the ball to the right colour. In the beginning after ten minutes people said, ‘He’s slow.’ Not any more. That’s what he has improved mostly.

“If he stays here he can play professional football for as long as he can. But this is the second division in Holland. He needs to go through the next stage then he can play at a higher level. He is really trying, he will get it done.”

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