Jose Mourinho urges Scotland boss Steve Clarke to make precocious talent 'focal point' vs England

Jose Mourinho has urged Scotland boss Steve Clarke to start Chelsea youngster Billy Gilmour against England on Friday evening.

Billy Gilmour. (Photo by Manu Fernandez - Pool/Getty Images)
Billy Gilmour. (Photo by Manu Fernandez - Pool/Getty Images)

The Tartan Army travel to Wembley knowing that defeat could leave their chances of securing a spot in the knockout stages of Euro 2020 looking slim.

Monday afternoon’s 2-0 defeat to the Czech Republic was a sobering blow for Clarke’s squad, and the manager came under criticism from some supporters for not including Gilmour in his plans.

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Looking ahead to tonight’s showdown with the Three Lions, Mourinho suggested that the Scots should consider moving Scott McTominay back into defence to accommodate the precocious talent.

Speaking to talkSPORT, he said: “Steve [Clarke] deserves all the respect and the last thing I want to do here is be the smart one, it’s just my opinion like anybody else who listens to this show.

“The fact McTominay can play in defence, he’s faster than Grant Hanley and I think Scotland need speed against Sterling and Rashford – they’re going to attack the space in the behind.

“Do you lose a very strong midfield player? Yes, but [Stuart] Armstrong and [John] McGinn are good players who are intense and recover balls and the kid, Gilmour, he will give them a focal point because he wants the ball all the time.

“You can look at his body and think, ‘they’re going to smash him’, but they’re only going to smash him if they arrive on time, and he is very good and very quick on the ball.

“And often, if a player wants to come in and smash him, they will arrive too late, he’s already gone.

“So if Scotland play five at the back with Scott in the back-five, they can bring in the kid to play in midfield, and that would help against England’s pace.”

Gilmour has made just two senior appearances for Scotland, both of which have come from the bench in friendly fixtures.

The midfielder played nine minutes of the Euro 2020 warm-up clash against the Netherlands before featuring for just over half an hour against Luxembourg a few days later.

Despite his lack of experience at international level, however, Gilmour was part of the Chelsea squad that beat Manchester City to lift the Champions League trophy at the end of last month.