Gilmour a big part of Scotland's future – Clarke hails Chelsea prospect

By Sports Desk June 19, 2021

Billy Gilmour is a huge part of Scotland's future after his standout performance against rivals England at Euro 2020.

Those were the words of Scotland boss Steve Clarke after his side impressively kept their last-16 qualification hopes alive with a 0-0 draw at Wembley on Friday.

Chelsea prospect Gilmour, 20, was handed his first international start for the massive match, which ended in the first goalless draw between the two nations in 33 meetings at Wembley.

Despite his inexperience, the composed Gilmour led Scotland for passes (44), completed passes (40) and passes in the opposition half (24), while he gained possession eight times, more than anyone else on the pitch.

Gilmour got a huge reception from the Scotland fans when he was replaced by Stuart Armstrong in the closing stages, with Clarke thrilled by what he had seen.

"It was nice for him to get that start, a big platform – he is a big player, Billy," said Clarke.

"I've said for a long time he'll be a big part of the future of Scottish football.

"We know what we've got in the camp, we'll try to manage that and keep a lid on things. Performances like that will do him no harm whatsoever.

"Stephen O'Donnell was exceptional, and Billy was just behind him. 

"Getting Kieran [Tierney] back into the three and having Scott [McTominay] there [in defence] gives us the platform to build from the back. Billy Gilmour and Callum McGregor [in midfield] are both good footballers. 

"We knew coming here we couldn't just sit and defend for 95 minutes, we knew when we had the ball, we had to take care of it and try to create our own chances. 

"That's what we managed to do."

 

Scotland ended the match with more attempts (11-9) and shots on target (2-1) than England, though the hosts edged the xG battle (1.6-0.7), given John Stones had headed against the post early on.

Having recovered well from their first loss to the Czech Republic, Scotland now face a must-win clash with Croatia at Hampden on Tuesday as Group D concludes.

Scotland captain Andy Robertson also had praise for Gilmour as he looked ahead to that contest.

"I'd put Gilmour's performance right up there," said the Liverpool defender.

"Nothing phases him. I believe he can have as many caps as he wants for Scotland. He's got a big future, but the here and now's pretty good for him too.

"I think we did deserve to win but we will take a point, it keeps us alive.

"But it's important we use the feeling, the feeling, the fans being happy with us going into Tuesday and try to use it to get a positive result to get out of the group."

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