We Can’t Blame Billy Gilmour For Choosing Chelsea Over Rangers

Billy Gilmour is an exciting young Scottish footballing prospect, who is fast approaching his sixteenth birthday. That meant he had a choice to make, either sign on and stay at Rangers or leave for an elite European club.

It was announced yesterday that the fifteen year old had decided to depart Glasgow and head for London and sign up with English Premier League leaders Chelsea. The deal will see Rangers receive around £500k in compensation, a paltry sum considering the players potential.

A debate has now started with people stating he’d have been better staying at Ibrox, while others believe he’s better off down at Stamford Bridge.

I’ve thought about it for months and I truly believe he’s made the best decision.

Would it have been easier to get into the Gers first team?

No doubt but he’ll be playing with a better calibre of player in the Chelsea academy and that’s probably better for him at this stage, rather than heaping pressure on him with early first team action.

People always state that no one really makes it at Chelsea through the academy.

Ok there seems to be some truth in that but even if they don’t make it at Chelsea a lot of these youngsters go elsewhere and get first team football in strong leagues like the Premier League, Bundesliga, the Championship and Serie A.

Others moan about stockpiling and the raft of players that leave on loan.

True but they go to clubs like Fulham, Borussia Monchengladbach, AC Milan and Vitesse Arnhem. The loan deals are to get the young players used to first team football and they can then be assessed on their abilities. A lot of those loanees manage to get into their national sides while out on loan and getting the valuable exposure with a senior side.

Look at Nathan Ake, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Nathaniel Chalobah they’ve all been out on loan but have been part of the Chelsea first team this season. While they’re not regular starters, it’s clear Blues boss Antonio Conte sees potential in them.

I’d also expect Conte to promote Tammy Abrahams and Andreas¬†Christensen once they return to the Bridge. Both have enjoyed great loan spells during this campaign and the Italian manager knows that his side will be fighting on four fronts next term and will need more faces in his pool of players.

We also can’t forget that Rangers haven’t had a huge amount of success bringing academy players into their first eleven either. Yes Barrie McKay has managed to get himself in there but others like John Fleck¬†came into the team and didn’t live up to the early hype.

But what about Islam Feruz, the last player to leave Glasgow for Chelsea in the hope of making the grade?

Yes Feruz’s tale isn’t the best as he’s been farmed out more times than I care to remember. The former Scotland under-21 forward was last seen struggling to break into a now relegated Swindon Town side in England’s League One. It’s Islam’s fifth loan deal and he’s yet to play more than eight games at any of these teams, never mind find the net.

But by all accounts the glitz and glamour got to Feruz and distracted him from the goal of actually concentrating on his football. Everyone I have spoken to about the twenty-one year old always questions his attitude and his commitment. He could very well end up being Scotland’s answer to Freddy Adu!

His story should act as a warning to Billy Gilmour but it shouldn’t put off the fifteen year old. Many others, who showed the proper endeavour, have done well at the academy and flourished (not necessarily at Chelsea).

Now let’s talk money.

I don’t think the move is really financially motivated, although I’m sure Gilmour will get more at Chelsea than he would have received at Ibrox. The boy seems to have his head screwed on and taken his time in making this decision.

Billy seems determined to do as well as he can in his career. He won’t go down to the big smoke and live in a spacious palatial home with his family, initially he’ll most probably leave his family and stay in digs. That is a big move for any young teen.

At Chelsea he knows he can test himself week in and week out in training against other youthful prodigies. He will also receive top-class tuition from coaches that know the game inside out and who have a tried and tested system.

It’s easy to moan at young players who choose to go to leave Scotland for England but really we should support them in taking a risk and trying to forge their own paths in the game.

Hopefully we’ll see Billy Gilmour turning out for Chelsea one day and also becoming a star for Scotland!

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