BILLY GILMOUR amazed Chelsea with his maturity before he kicked a ball for them.
The 20-year-old Scottish youngster, currently on loan at Norwich but is ineligible to play at Stamford Bridge in Saturday’s lunchtime game, arrive at the club’s Cobham HQ without his family by his side.
At the age of 16, the teenager travelled from Glasgow and insisted he wanted to live in digs by himself.
It is that dedication to football that caught the eye of Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United while Gilmour was at Rangers before deciding to move two years ago.
Those who work closely with him at Chelsea say nothing will distract him from his goal of being a top Premier League player, even if he is currently struggling to hold down a place with the Canaries.
He was even invited to model for Burberry for one of their campaigns and made little fuss about it.
That is because from a very young age the teenager’s eyes have been focused on the best way to become a top box-to-box midfielder, rather than the trappings that come with success.
At Ibrox he was offered a great deal to stay in Scotland and get fast-tracked into the first-team.
But he assessed his options carefully and the bigger picture was a chance to establish himself in the Premier League.
“He was promised everything but looked at what was best long-term to becoming the player he wants to be,” said a Rangers source.
And it’s a decision that seemed a logical one, when he burst onto the scene in 2019 under former boss Frank Lampard.
A man-of-the-match display against Liverpool in the FA Cup further enhanced his reputation.
It was somewhat of a surprise Chelsea allowed Gilmour to go on loan, but with competition for places in central midfield he wanted regular game time.
But it hasn’t worked out for him so far, often being overlooked for the first eleven.
Thomas Tuchel has a message for him, though.
“I love Billy. He decided to go to have a better chance to get some minutes. We want him to perform. If you decide to go on loan, it’s as simple as that – you need to be on the pitch, perform, be a top player, if you want to make it here.
“He’s our player. we love him, but changing a club is a huge risk, huge step. Now’s not the time to speak about coming back.
‘He just needs to show what he can do. No coach will leave the best players out, that’s what he needs to prove. That Norwich is a better team with him.’