Rangers: Pat Nevin backs Billy Gilmour's decision to switch to Chelsea

Billy Gilmour
Billy Gilmour has been involved in the first team set-up at Ibrox but has yet to make his debut

Pat Nevin insists Billy Gilmour will be given every chance of developing into a top-class player at Chelsea.

While former Chelsea winger Nevin believes the 15-year-old would have been well served by staying at Rangers, he says Stamford Bridge is one of the best places for youngsters to flourish.

"Chelsea produce a lot of young players and hoover a lot up, which can be damaging if you let them rot, but they don't," Nevin told BBC Scotland.

"They make sure they have a pathway."

And Nevin is perfectly-placed to make such a judgement.

He joined Chelsea from Clyde in 1983 as a 19-year-old and nailed down a first-team slot within three weeks, although he is quick to point out that the game, and Chelsea as a club, has changed significantly since then.

Pat Nevin at Chelsea
Pat Nevin secured a spot in the Chelsea first-team at 19 following an injury to Clive Walker

Nevin now covers Chelsea's youth teams for the club's TV channel and that has provided him with an insight into how the Premier League leaders treat their young talent.

"The standard Chelsea have brought through over the last number of years is quite phenomenal," Nevin said.

"It gets a lot of stick, people saying they are ruining it for kids, but have a look around, a lot of them are playing first-team football, not at Chelsea, but around.

"[Gilmour] will be playing alongside the cream of young players in Britain and beyond. I'd always say to young players to get first-team football and although he'll struggle to get first-team football there, he will be learning off right good players.

"Best case scenario: he'll have a year or two doing that, hopefully only a year, then you're loaned out and they find out quickly about you."

Billy Gilmour in action for Scotland
Billy Gilmour has been a regular with the Scotland youth teams

Having watched Chelsea assemble an army of young talent from across the globe that has taken the club to multiple youth-level trophies, Nevin says Gilmour's future will ultimately be determined by the player himself.

"It's up to him. You look at Islam Feruz as a good example," Nevin said.

"He went down there from Celtic and if there's any weakness in your game, or your personality, you won't make it. They will farm you out and give you the chance to do it somewhere else.

"You need to show the right attitude the entire time or you will not make it at Chelsea, although they will still give you the best they can.

"Players can get lost at clubs down south but at Chelsea and Manchester City it's different. They don't just throw a big net, a couple come through, and discard the rest. It's not altruistic - if a young player does well they can sell him on.

"It's all down to the kids' attitude - can you hack being at the top level?

"If I had a slight preference for him, I'd have wanted him to stay at Rangers. If you're playing for Rangers and you're going to get into the first team at 17 or 18, that's fantastic.

"My favoured situation would be he goes [to Chelsea] and comes back to Scotland on loan."

Islam Feruz joins Hibs
Former Celtic youth Islam Feruz has been loaned to five clubs, including Hibernian, in his three years at Chelsea

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