The former Blues defender has praised the Scotland youth international after his man-of-the-match display against the champions-elect
Chelsea legend Ashley Cole says that Chelsea have always rated their breakthrough star Billy Gilmour, who put on a midfield masterclass performance in the 2-0 win over Liverpool in the FA Cup on Tuesday.
The 18-year-old is in line for his first Premier League start at the weekend due to an injury crisis in midfield, with Mateo Kovacic’s injury adding to that of N’Golo Kante and a suspension for Jorginho.
Cole now coaches in the Under-15’s at Cobham Training Centre and he believes that Gilmour shows traits more typical of players from his era than that from the current group who are breaking through.
“He played fantastic,” Cole said at the London Football Awards. “I watched him a lot. I saw him play at the U23’s or U18’s at times. He is someone who I think the club rate very highly.
“Not just the way he plays but that willingness to want to prove himself, want to do well, willing to work hard which I think has gone out of some kids these days. That willingness to understand what it takes to make it.
“He has taken the first couple of steps but now he has got to work even harder to try to stay in the squad. You train all your life for this moment. He has had good experience from the players around him.
“Some younger players as well in terms of [Mason] Mount, [Tammy] Abraham and [Fikayo] Tomori in the squad. I am sure they would help him on his way. Make him feel comfortable and the senior lads as well. You have a good manager who is willing to put these lads in.
“He must see him in training. He is good enough and again he showed why he is good enough and he is playing very well.”
The former England left-back is widely regarded as one of the greatest ever to play in his position for the Three Lions, having racked up an impressive 107 caps in his playing career.
Gareth Southgate is preparing for Euro 2020 with warm up games against Denmark and Italy coming later in the month. And while Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell has firmed up his spot in the England team in recent months, Cole thinks that Southgate has other quality players to lean on if needed.
“Maybe [people] don’t rate them but there is [other options],” he added. “I think it will be tough for Gareth Southgate to choose the 23-man squad but they have options. I think they have quality options there whether they go with young players or experience like Danny Rose.
“I think all over the pitch there is top quality. They have their Nations League draw. They have the squad and quality to do well again.”
Cole retired last year before joining Chelsea as a coach, with a move to play under Frank Lampard at Derby County having been the final one in his playing career.
Wayne Rooney has similarly made the move from MLS to the Championship to play for the Rams in their push to earn a play-off spot.
Derby lost 3-0 to Manchester United in the FA Cup on Thursday but Cole thinks Rooney has made a positive impact on his side since January.
“He has done a fantastic job at Derby. He is always someone who gives 100 per cent and he still could so it wasn’t a surprise to me that he is doing so well,” Cole concluded.
“I was there – they have a good set of lads there even though some have gone on and moved on now. It is a very very good club. I think he has fit in very well and hopefully they can make the play-offs.”