Billy Gilmour reveals Andy Robertson's Scotland advice and how he studied Iniesta & Xavi after leaving Rangers for Chelsea

Ardrossan midfielder given cap hope from national skipper

Billy Gilmour is eager to step up from the Scotland Under-21 side to the senior squad.

Billy Gilmour modelled his midfield game on Spanish legends Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and Cesc Fabregas. The next step in his burgeoning career is to become an established internationalist, so he was understandably elated hearing that Scotland captain Andy Robertson hoped to see him in the squad.

The 18-year-old's reputation has soared since leaving Rangers for Chelsea three years ago. He made his English Premier League debut this season and also won man of the match against Robertson's Liverpool in the FA Cup.

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A lifelong ambition is to play for his country, and there have already been calls for his promotion from Scot Gemmill's Under-21s to the senior squad. Gilmour explained how advice from Robertson after the 2-0 win over Liverpool gave him huge belief that he will achieve his aim.

"Everyone knows my feelings about representing my country," said the teenager from Ardrossan, North Ayrshire, in a Sky Sports interview. "Hopefully I'm not far off it. I just need to keep working hard and see where it takes me.

"After the Liverpool game, I swapped shirts with Andy Robertson. He came up to me after the game and said: 'Well done, you played really well, keep doing it and hopefully see you soon in the first-team squad.'

"That was great to hear that from the captain of the country. I then asked him if we could swap shirts and he said: 'No problem, let's do it inside'. So that was me buzzing."

Gilmour likes a playmaking role in midfield after watching and learning from some of Spain's most iconic players.

"When I first came [to Chelsea], I’d say I was more of an attacking midfielder, and then Jody Morris [assistant manager] turned me into a deeper player. To get on the ball and start play is best for me, but I am happy playing anywhere.

"When I was young I used to watch Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Everyone did. But when I started to analyse my game and think about who I would like to progress to be like, it was more like Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Cesc Fabregas.

"It was something about how they passed the ball, receiving the ball, everything was sharp. Sergio Busquets too; when you watch Barcelona and you watch Busquets individually, everything happens around him. Those are the kind of players I looked up to, getting on the ball and making things happen."

Gilmour credited youth coaches at Rangers for his development in addition to his time at Grange Academy in Kilmarnock, one of the Scottish FA's performance schools. He has also benefited from Chelsea manager Frank Lampard's commitment to youth development.

"When I was at Rangers, the youth coaches were amazing and helped me a lot," said Gilmour. "I went to a performance school in Scotland where you do individual training at an academy, so instead of going to a Geography class, you go and play football in that period.

"My Dad played football too and always told me to keep it simple, work hard, and you can't go wrong.

"At the time [when moving to Chelsea], I didn't really know what was going to happen. But when I went down, saw everything and they had a plan, it was unbelievable. It was a dream. I always wanted to go and play in the Premier League to test myself and see what my limit is.

"Leading up to the games, I was thinking about what I’m going to do. The gaffer said: ‘Go out and play your own game.’ That gives you a lot of confidence. Playing in the game [against Liverpool], there were parts that I felt were difficult, but when I got on the ball I felt good. I had players running off, so it was making it easy for me.

"It was a great, great game so I was happy to play well. And then receiving the man of the match, it was amazing. I never thought of it, I just wanted to play the game well, not muck up anything, and play the game right."