Frank Lampard says Billy Gilmour’s age, recent injury and Chelsea’s poor run were all factors in the youngster not being given a run in the first team.
That could all change now, with Lampard admitting it will be “very difficult” to leave Gilmour out following his fine performance against Luton.
The 3-1 win in the FA Cup fourth round came after a run of five defeats in eight matches for Chelsea and led to much speculation over manager Lampard’s future.
Gilmour impressed before being sidelined by a knee injury last season and has looked the part in his outings this term.
He faces plenty of competition for a midfield place, but continues to suggest he is good enough to be a regular starter.
Speaking at his post-match press conference, Lampard said: “He was outstanding. His comfort on the ball, the way he moves it, his discipline and his personality was great.
“Playing like he did today, he makes it very difficult for me not to give him a run.
“With his youth and the injury he’s had, and the difficult time we’ve had in the last month or so, I think it’s been me trying to find the right time to get Billy in there. Today it felt like the right time.”
Lampard all but ruled out Gilmour being sent out on loan this month.
“Looking at him there today, then he won’t be going on loan,” Lampard said.
“Of course I’ll keep that slightly open until the end of the month, but Billy’s a Chelsea player and the levels he showed today show he’s right for being a Chelsea player in the middle of the park.”