'Fantastic': Roy Keane is a big fan of Chelsea player who could shine at Euro 2020

Roy Keane offered some words of encouragement to Chelsea midfielder, Billy Gilmour, ahead of Scotland’s European Championship opener today.

Speaking on ITV, Keane was debating whether Gilmour would be selected to start for his side’s crunch clash against the Czech Republic this afternoon.

The 20-year-old is an extremely new member of Steve Clarke’s squad, having only been capped twice at senior level ahead of the tournament.

Photo by Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

His two appearances lasted just under 40 minutes all together, but the Chelsea talent took his brief chances confidently.

That shouldn’t be a surprise to Blues fans, who have been hankering for their academy product to play international football for some time.

Keane compliments

Clarke now has a difficult decision on his hands over whether to throw Gilmour in from the off versus the Czechs or use him as a substitute.

Keane felt the mini maestro would begin on Scotland’s bench but will be an excellent back-up if needed to be called upon.

“It’s a bit like Gareth (Southgate) going back to the lads who’ve done well for him over the last year or two,” said the former Manchester United captain.

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“Gilmour is a fantastic young talent but maybe Clarke will say ‘I’ll be loyal to the guys who got us there’.

“But again, a great option because he’s a fantastic young footballer learning his trade. Maybe he comes off the bench.

“Again, very, very good player.”

Gilmour to grab his chance?

Scotland are pretty well stocked in central midfield. Scott McTominay, John McGinn, Stuart Armstrong and Callum McGregor will all be vying for the same spot.

They are all vastly more experienced compared to Gilmour in terms of age and playing for the national side.

But none are Champions League winners, nor are they learning alongside some of Europe’s best players at club level – with McTominay the only exception.

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Of course, it would be a huge call for Clarke to opt for youth over his seasoned soldiers later.

But sometimes the gamble can pay off. Chelsea supporters will tell you that trusting Gilmour is no risk whatsoever.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.