Footballers’ personal lives should always be considered, but it’s vital for Billy Gilmour that he chooses head over heart as he weighs up whether to join Norwich or Rangers for the 2021/22 season.
There’s no denying what Rangers can offer a young Scottish midfielder desperate for game time. Billy Gilmour grew up 30 miles from Ibrox, and it’s undeniable that the champions north of the border are a bigger club than Norwich City. A much bigger club.
Gilmour came through the Gers academy setup and only left in 2017 because of a huge bid from a Champions League winning club in Chelsea; the hub for strong young talent, evidenced by their five consecutive FA Youth Cups between 2014 and 2018. Gilmour was instrumental in the final one of those. His move south made was with at least a degree of reluctance and there is unfinished business for the 20-year-old at Ibrox.
So the question becomes how desperate the Chelsea man is to finish that business, and whether he must do it now. Given the trajectory expected of his career, it seems likely that the chance to return to Rangers will present itself at some point in Gilmour’s future, whether that’s as a revival move after struggling at Stamford Bridge or as a convenient transition into retirement at the end of a long and storied 15 years there.
The chances of Steven Gerrard being at Rangers when opportunity next knocks are, of course, slim, and that could work against the Canaries. The Liverpool legend is an ambitious man and after his hugely successful first three years in the job Premier League suitors will come calling sooner rather than later. This could be vital in Gilmour’s decision, given the Blues midfielder is a huge admirer of Gerrard and will be tempted by the opportunity to work with him.
Combine with this the fact that a move back to Scotland would be a move back into the vicinity of the family Gilmour is very close to and things start to stack up against Norwich City.
Then again, the Canaries are almost unmatched in their capacity as a launchpad for young footballers looking to further their careers. James Maddison, Jamal Lewis, Ben Godfrey, Oliver Skipp, etcetera, etcetera. The list of players City have improved and elevated speaks for itself, and all of the above did their best yellow and green work under the current regime.
- Because Daniel Farke is an excellent coach and almost peerless in his knowledge around how to improve players.
- Because Stuart Webber has enlisted the help of the best analytical and sports science staff available to a club of Norwich’s size.
- Because the Lotus Training Centre has been transformed into a hub of development, a facility truly worth being proud of, and that fact may well be key in Gilmour’s decision.
When discussing his move to South-West London, Gilmour’s parents said that “a top-class training establishment” was what sold them on the idea that a move to Chelsea was the best option for their son. They’re a family that takes development seriously and, although the draw of a huge club is undeniable, anyone that’s watched the Scot play will know that he’s not a man fazed by the bright lights, by the attention that comes with playing at a stadium like Ibrox.
In fact, Gilmour comes across more as a player that would fit perfectly with Farke’s trademark style on the pitch. According to City Head of Recruitment Kieran Scott the perfect Farke player is “someone who’s confident, calm on the ball, will take the ball in tight areas.”
If he’d been asked to describe Gilmour, the answer would’ve been very similar, as confirmed by Kenny McLean, who told the Daily Record that “Billy would fit into our style of play, the way we try to build from the back. That suits him perfectly.”
There’s also the Chelsea element, one which has been underplayed on mass throughout the Rangers vs. Norwich debate. The Blues want their man at Carrow Road, and surely theirs is the king of the various priorities.
Farke’s style has evolved from the one he was employed to copy at Borussia Dortmund, the one created by a certain Thomas Tuchel. The Germans share both an unrelenting desire for possession and, crucially, the use of a ‘double pivot’ in their teams, hence Tuchel’s feeling that NR1 is the best place for Gilmour to play if he’s to progress into a starting role at Chelsea.
Not only is the pride of Ardrossan being pushed towards Norfolk, there will surely be a bitter taste left if he directly conflicts with his coach’s wishes.
Not to ignore the suggestions of Graeme Souness, who went on record to suggest that Gilmour should stay with his parent club, and that the key in becoming a world-class player is to play with them in training, not against them every week in front of 27,000 fans in the strongest league on the planet. One wonders if Souness’ opinion has softened since his beloved Gers entered the frame.
Anyone can understand the dilemma facing Gilmour, it’s head vs. heart at a key crossroads moment in his career, but there’s little room for sentiment in football, and for once that may fall in Norwich City’s favour.
Good article. Does anyone know how many Rangers players are in the current Scottish Team?
If Gilmour is a player who thrives in a club which is welcoming ,family orientated and plays football with the accent on possession and passing,Norwich is the obvious place for him.
I’d hate to see him do a “Glenn Middleton “at Rangers.
Aye getting beat every week & getting relegated would be brilliant for his career right enough. Go to rangers win silverware & play in the champions league, no brainer ffs
Gary Gowers says
And play in just four big games in a whole season…
martin penney says
Let’s hope Curtis hasn’t seen this dinner time PinkUn Q&A!
Aye, playing barely League 1 opposition every week an going out on the pish wi’ his pals would be great for his career, FFS!
Champs League Preliminary round only btw!!
Champions league? 🤣🤣🤣🤣
Alex B says
It is being pushed on Newsnow that Gilmore is due to have a medical once he has been given the Covid-19 all clear so only time will tell which way he jumps.
Heart over head, family and friends over Hanley and McLean and maybe Mair abd a couple of other young Tartan players that city have not so sure, Chelsea will have a say and try and convince him to go were they prefer but will also want the player to be happy in his surroundings for the up coming season so alot to be considered for all parties
A very good analysis Samuel and some really good comments that follow.
While one cannot argue with Curtis’ comment, it hasn’t hindered Godfrey’s career and the Everton fans are of the opinion that they have acquired a fantastic player at a bargain price.
As others have said the way in which DF and his coaches have developed players’ careers/rekindled failing players’ careers is unequaled and ideally suited to developing a young players’ potential.
Yes, he could head North of the border and become the next Glenn Middleton and possibly be a sub in some CL games, but most of the rest of the season would be against the equivalent League 1 sides
Colin B says
Rangers have qualified for the Champions League but they are unlikely to progress. A couple of games in Europe and 4 against Celtic will not help Gilmour. He will know that. Having seen a fair bit of Rangers I would put them as a Championship level team.
As has been said earlier I would like to see Skipp and Gilmour teamed up.
“Midfield Mike” says
Gilmore is a really interesting one. The Premier League loan limit is only 2 players. I appreciate there is a lot of hedging bets with Skipp, but to use both loans on 2 players that play in, loosely, the same role, is quite a decision.
I understand the solid thinking that there is continuity in the event of an injury, but I for one see a frightening lack of cover for Pukki, and I’d rather know that the second loan is perhaps someone that can bring something to both the #10 role and or be the point striker if necessary….. this is because I feel the team needs to BUY one of the central midfielders rather than just loan someone.
I think that they are kicking the can down the road and it might bite them. Will Kenny McLean resist the lure of Champions League at Rangers forever? Rupp is 4th choice now and won’t likely stick around. Come the end of next summer, we could have no continuity at all.
Gilmore is class, but Skipp is sensational. Can you play both? I doubt it. Would I rather a Premier League loan for Tammy Abraham instead? Yes. Or someone similar.