BILLY Gilmour has expressed confidence he can pick up at Chelsea exactly where he left off when the football shutdown was introduced last month due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gilmour, the 18-year-old Scot, had been the talk of the English game just before play was suspended after producing standout performances in an FA Cup triumph over Liverpool and a Premier League win against Everton.

However, the former Rangers player, who has returned to his native Ayrshire since the nationwide lockdown was imposed and is currently staying with his parents in Ardrossan, is determined not to let the Covid-19 outbreak disrupt his progress.

The midfielder, who had been tipped to earn a call-up to Steve Clarke’s national squad for the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Israel before it was postponed, has been training on his own and is optimistic he can feature in Frank Lampard’s first team when football starts up again.

“I have been keeping myself fit by doing running and a little bit of gym work and have been out the back door playing football with my little brother,” he told former Chelsea and England midfielder and current Stamford Bridge youth coach Joe Cole in an interview on BT Sport.

“I am back home in Scotland with my mum and dad and my little brother. It has been good to come home and see my family again.

“It is a difficult period, but there is nothing I can really do. It is safety first. It is something that is very serious so we have to take that into account. Hopefully when we get back training when this is all over I can start off the way I left off.”

Gilmour paid tribute to Chelsea manager Lampard as well as his team mates Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho for helping him to perform so well in the 2019/20 campaign.

Asked by Cole about his appearance in the FA Cup game against Hull City in January, he said: “I was buzzing to come on. It was my FA Cup debut.

“But before I went on the gaffer said to me ‘get on the ball, slow the thing down and just play your own game’. He is the best for saying that to you. He gives you encouragement and confidence when you are on the pitch.

“When I was on the pitch I just wanted to get on the ball and play forward. At the time, Hull were trying to come back into it. It was a tight game. But we came out on top and won through to the next round.”

Asked about the influence of Kovacic and Jorginho, the former Ibrox kid added: “In training I am always watching them and trying to copy what they have been doing.

“They have been brilliant with me off the pitch as well. They are always talking to me, just asking about my upbringing, what it was like at Rangers and getting to know me as well as me getting to know them.

“They are helping me out. It’s quite surreal. They are top players and I train with them and play with them week in, week out. It is something I can only dream of.”

Gilmour admitted that watching Spanish superstar Cesc Fabregas at close quarters after he arrived at Chelsea had been important to his development as a footballer.

“We had to analyse our own game and then compare it to a player,” he said. “I thought I would do Fabregas. Growing up Iniesta, Xavi, Fabregas were the type of players I would base my game around, how I play.

“Fabregas' one-touch play and playing around the corner, how he could get out of tight areas, it was incredible. There was no better player to pick and when I came into first-team training a few times when he was there, it was great to see him.

"I could watch him in training and see how he put it into a game. I was trying to take some of that stuff from training with him and take it into my game.”