Billy Gilmour: Norwich boo-boys ordered to lay off Scotland internationalist

Kenny McLean has told the Norwich boo-boys to lay off Billy Gilmour and insists the whole squad need to raise their own game in the battle for Premier League survival next year.

Billy Gilmour in action for Norwich.
Billy Gilmour in action for Norwich.

The 20-year-old on-loan Chelsea midfielder was singled out by some of the travelling Canaries fans venting their frustrations during the 3-0 defeat at Crystal Palace on Tuesday.

Dean Smith's men sit bottom of the table following a five-game losing streak in which the team has failed to score.

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Norwich will not be in action again on New Year's Day after the match at Leicester was postponed because of continuing Covid-19 and injury problems within Smith's squad.

McLean, whose foul gave away an early penalty at Selhurst Park, knows only a collective effort can help turn the campaign around - and will not stand for his fellow Scotland midfielder being made a scapegoat.

"Being an older player and playing next to him (Gilmour) I feel some responsibility in that because I don't appreciate him being singled out, at all," McLean, 29, said.

"Maybe (it is because of) the expectation that everybody has got on him, but he is a young kid. He is here doing everything he can to help us.

"We need him going forward because his ability is something that is welcomed at this football club.

"He is not doing as well as he can – he would be the first to admit that, but nobody is.

"As a young boy getting singled out I would rather it was someone like myself, a more experienced player who takes the brunt of that a little bit more.

"He obviously has never experienced something like this in his career. He is young and is in his first full season of playing football in the Premier League."

McLean, though, is confident Gilmour will come through the testing spell.

"It is going to be tough for him," McLean said in an interview on Sky Sports.

"He is a strong character, a strong lad and he will put a brave face on, but no matter who you are that is not going to be nice to hear."

Gilmour was brought back into the side after Smith replaced Daniel Farke as head coach last month, and started the last eight matches.

There had been some suggestions Chelsea would consider a January recall for the young midfielder if his stay at Carrow Road was not working out.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel, however, has not given the subject much consideration as he deals with their own hectic festive schedule.

"To be very honest with you, I have not thought about it yet and I don't think it is a subject right in between these matches right now," Tuchel said when questioned on Gilmour at a press conference ahead of the Blues' match with Liverpool on January 2.

"We did not have a whole week to discus all of these things, maybe we need to do it right after Liverpool.

"But we haven't discussed it yet and honestly, I don't have a clear opinion on it right now."