Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has backed Scotland youngster Billy Gilmour to tackle up to four months on the sidelines with the same determination that has made one of the rising stars in the Premier League.
Lampard confirmed that the 19-year-old underwent surgery for a knee injury yesterday morning and could be absent until November.
The operation came two days after the under-21 international made only his second top-flight start in 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace.
The former Rangers trainee burst on to the scene just before lockdown after picking up match of the match awards in the FA Cup and league against Liverpool and Everton in March.
Gilmour’s set-back is also a blow to Scotland manager Steve Clarke ahead of the start of the UEFA Nations League in September and October’s Euro 2020 play-off clash with Israel at Hampden.
However, Lampard is in doubt that the teenager will thrown himself into his rehabilitation programme.
Lampard said: “Billy Gilmour has had an operation on his knee this morning and we estimate he’ll be out for somewhere between three and four months, unfortunately.
“I am very disappointed, as we all are here, and Billy is himself.
“I spoke to him on Thursday at length, just giving him support really and being there for him.
“He is a tough boy and it hits him hard, particularly as a younger boy who has just made the breakthrough in recent times and was doing so well.
“It is part of football and I tried to explain to him that he should be very pleased with what he’s done, the impact he’s had this season anyway. “His attitude will get him back as quick as he possibly can and that’s the story.”
Lampard, whose side take on Sheffield United on Saturday, added: “His character for me is fantastic, particularly with his age and the personality he has shown getting in and around the first team squad and pushing himself into the team.
“I’m very sure he’ll show the same character in getting over the injury. “He’ll do everything right, he’ll put in the work and the rehab and tackle it.
“He has got a close-knit family who will be around him and there for him and we’re his family too and we’ll be there for him.
“The small bonus for him is hopefully it will be through a period which is off season and maybe pre-season and hopefully he is not missing as many games he might have done.”