BILLY GILMOUR’S breakthrough season is over with Chelsea’s rising star to undergo knee surgery on Friday.
The teenage midfielder is believed to have suffered ligament damage and could be out for up to three months.
It is a cruel blow for the Scottish youngster and for his club in the race for a top four finish.
Gilmour, 19, has impressed boss Frank Lampard to such an extent this season that he was preferred to experienced Italian star Jorginho for Tuesday’s crucial 3-2 win at Crystal Palace.
But Gilmour was substituted with ten minutes to go and scans have confirmed he needs a minor op.
The Glaswegian will now spend the rest of this season and some of next season recovering from the first big setback of his fledgling career.
Lampard handed the former academy player his debut against Sheffield United last August and the skilful rookie has become a big hit over the last ten months.
With fellow midfielders N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic injured in midweek, Lampard turned to Gilmour to play at the heart of his team in a tough London derby as a sign of the faith he has in him.
He was picked ahead of £57million Jorginho for the clash at Selhurst Park.
Chelsea expect Gilmour to be out for between eight and 12weeks.
Chelsea’s Premier League season ends on July 26 with the potential of an FA Cup final on August 1.
The club travels to Germany to try to overturn a 3-0 deficit against Bayern Munich in the Champions League on August 7
But Gilmour is assured of a big future at Chelsea under Lampard once he is fully fit again and is viewed as a key figure in the manager’s plans.