Frank Lampard has hinted teen sensation Billy Gilmour can already challenge for a place in Chelsea’s full-strength starting XI.
Gilmour won his second man-of-the-match award in five days as Chelsea thumped Everton 4-0 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
The 18-year-old Scot backed up his stellar showing from Tuesday’s 2-0 FA Cup win over Liverpool to rubber stamp his arrival at the highest level.
And now Blues boss Lampard has admitted Gilmour has all the credentials to command a starting berth, even when N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho are all back in action.
“He’s receiving the ball in difficult areas on the pitch where if you don’t move it quickly, firstly you don’t get the rhythm of our play, it breaks down for you; and secondly if you give it away in those areas it’s dangerous,” said Lampard.
“So you need confidence, you need balls to do that. And Jorginho has it, and Billy has it.
“One of the most pleasing things for me with Billy today was that he showed those balls in the first half, but then when he stepped up into a higher midfielder role he instantly took it on board, arriving in their box, playing balls all around the pitch.
“So he showed that he can do both which again is a great thing for me, when I’m thinking about how the midfield looks at times.”
Mason Mount, Pedro, Willian and Olivier Giroud all found the net as Chelsea thrashed Everton for their biggest Premier League winning margin under boss Lampard.
The Blues’ hefty victory was all the more startling given the absence of seven frontline stars, with Gilmour stepping up again due to Kante and Kovacic’s injuries and Jorginho’s suspension.
Tuesday’s hugely-impressive FA Cup win over Premier League champions-elect Liverpool, and now Sunday’s thrashing of the Toffees have pushed Chelsea back into top form.
The Blues secured just a second league win in seven however, leaving Lampard circumspect about both their recovery – and status in the race for Champions League qualification, despite securing fourth spot.
Asked if Chelsea are experiencing a second wind, Lampard said: “I’m a bit wary to say that. The last two performances would look like that, but I’m experienced enough to know that we go to Villa away next, a team fighting for their lives.
“We’ve had inconsistencies recently, but who hasn’t other than Liverpool in this league? I don’t accept those inconsistencies obviously, but it’s understandable in this transitional period.
“There’s still a long way to go. It may look like a small cushion from fifth now but we have to fight to the end.
“It is in our hands and when I said we were underdogs before, I was looking at the bigger scene. I’m not going to say we’re favourites now.
“There’s a lot of work to be done, and we have to fight the inconsistencies to get the points. It doesn’t feel to me like we’re favourites now.”
Everton boss Ancelotti led Chelsea to their first domestic double in 2010 and enjoyed a warm reception on his first Stamford Bridge return.
Everything else proved pretty wretched for the 60-year-old, who later pulled no punches criticising his players.
Asked if he had any issues with his side’s commitment, Ancelotti sighed heavily and then replied: “There are things I can analyse with you and things I can analyse with my players.
“Everything went wrong, it’s not difficult to judge this game.
“We made a lot of mistakes with the ball and so it was not a good day. But we must learn from our mistakes.”