BILLY GILMOUR will be missing for “three or four months” with a knee injury, Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has confirmed.
The 19-year-old has burst onto the scene in 2020, producing mature performances beyond his tender years.
But an injury sustained in Tuesday’s dramatic 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace will see the Scot miss the remainder of his breakthrough season – as well as the beginning of next.
Gilmour suffered ligament damage and went under the knife this morning – but not before Lampard offered comforting words to his talented rookie.
He said: “I am very disappointed. We all are here, so is Billy. I spoke with him yesterday at length and gave him some support. He is a tough boy.
“It hit him hard, I get that as well as a younger player. He’s just made his breakthrough in recent times. He was doing so well.
“But I explained he should be very pleased with the impact he has had this season and that this is part of football.
His (Gilmour’s) character is fantastic, particularly with his age and personality he has shown getting in and around the first team squad
“It is our job as players to get on with things. He will learn that lesson quickly. His attitude will get him back as quickly as he can.
“His character is fantastic, particularly with his age and personality he has shown getting in and around the first team squad, pushing himself into the team.”
SunSport yesterday exclusively revealed that Gilmour would miss the remainder of the campaign with injury.
And today’s news now leaves Lampard particularly light in his midfield options – with N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic both missing last time out.
Scots prodigy Gilmour earned the plaudits with his performances in Chelsea’s last two games before lockdown, particularly an FA Cup victory over Liverpool
Manchester United legend Roy Keane – a usually harsh and stubborn pundit – was left in awe of Gilmour’s intelligence on the field.
He said on Sky Sports: “He was fantastic, I was sitting at home having a cup of tea and some chocolate and I didn’t have the volume on, as the game started I literally got out of my seat and said, ‘who is this kid in midfield?’
“There are certain traits you want from midfielder, obviously quality on the ball, football intelligence, composure, he had everything.”
Gilmour’s injury could re-open the door, however, to Italian midfielder Jorginho at Stamford Bridge.
The 28-year-old Maurizio Sarri-favourite has been out-of-favour of late, not featuring post-lockdown until replacing Gilmour for the final ten minutes against Palace.
But amid rumoured interest from Serie A, Jorginho may yet be relied upon by Lampard, 42, over the remaining weeks of the season.
The Blues boss continued: “We’ll see in terms of selection but there’s no point to prove for him. He proves it in his training for me. I just want to see the usual Jorginho.”
Chelsea face a dogfight to secure qualification for next season’s Champions League, although their crucial three points last time out sees them in pole position in third.
But Lampard will be taking nothing for granted, with Leicester just one point behind in fourth and United two back in fifth.