Chelsea youngster Billy Gilmour has revealed that he idolised Barcelona pair Xavi and Andres Iniesta when he was growing up and is enjoying life with the Blues after leaving Rangers in 2017.
The 18-year-old made his debut for the club in the 2019-20 season and has made four first-team appearances in total, in the Premier League and Carabao Cup.
Signed from Rangers as a 16-year-old, Gilmour has been tipped as a star for the future and the diminutive midfielder has revealed how Barcelona legends Xavi and Iniesta are two players he's always looked up to.
"If you are small, it doesn’t matter. Some of the best players in the world are small like Lionel Messi," Gilmour told Goal at the release of the new Adidas Predator Mutator boots. "When I get on the ball I move it quickly so I am two steps ahead.
"It was always El Clasico that I loved to watch when I was young. I loved watching Iniesta and Xavi. They were my favourite players. You can put Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi up there but Iniesta was more like my style of play.
"Looking at Xavi and Iniesta, that's what I wanted to focus my game on. Then in the academy, you are asked to compare your game to other players so I looked to Cesc Fabregas when he was at Chelsea.
"He is a top player, how he got on the ball, received it and passed it. So I was looking at that and then right now there’s a lot of players to look at. When I watch games now I like to see Frenkie de Jong, Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho.
"They are top players to look at because I like to get on the ball, drop deep, create play and I am always hardworking and on the move searching for space. I like to give out a few tackles too, though I might be small. I think I am also a bit of a leader on the pitch too. I am always talking and in the game."
Gilmour, who signed a new four-year deal with Chelsea in September 2019, reportedly attracted interest from the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Manchester City before he made the move to Chelsea and he is still sure that he made the right decision.
"I grew up with Rangers since I was young," he continued. "I made a lot of friends and knew all the coaches so it was hard but it was time for a change. I wanted to fulfil a dream in the Premier League. It is the best league in the world.
"When you watch the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Jorginho and Kovacic - we have all the best players here so that’s why I wanted to come here to test myself. Joining Chelsea has been the right decision with everything that was there for me.
"The first season showed that when we won the quadruple so it was a great season. You can’t beat that really can you? In the squad now you learn a lot about your game with the team. Especially Jorginho, being the leader that he is but they are all good at talking to you and helping you out.
"It is exciting. The experience I am gaining is massive. When I came, it was Jody Morris in the Under-18s and Joe Edwards in the Under-23s so when you go around there you can feel a bit more relaxed because you know Joe and Jody. Then Lampard comes in - it is really good.
"He is doing really well. It is a real bonus he came back. There is a real togetherness when a lot of young players come over in training. Just being around the top players we have there, especially with the gaffer putting a lot of trust in the young ones.
"You can see it has shown as we are in good form right now. It has been a good season. I definitely learned the most from that game against Manchester United in the cup. It was tough, you learn you have got to move the ball quickly, not to take many touches on the ball, think of your next pass and be two steps ahead of the defender.
"Against top midfielders, top players. I learned a lot from that opportunity. I have played a lot of games across all levels. The Under-23s are top of the league by four points and then any more chances I can get in the first team will be really good."
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