Brighton midfielder Billy Gilmour has revealed he was sent to the reserves in pre-season before his departure from Chelsea.
The 22-year-old came through the Blues academy and joined the first team in 2019.
But after a season-long loan spell at Norwich, Gilmour was told he was not part of the first-team plans, and was therefore sent back to the reserves.
This was despite Chelsea exercising an option to extend Gilmour’s contract until the end of the 2023/24 season earlier that summer.
“When I came back from my loan from Norwich, I came back and had a pre-season and I just wasn’t in the plans,” the Scotland international told talkSPORT host Jim White.
“I ended up leaving pre-season with the first team to join the reserves. So we were in America for pre-season and then me and two other boys were told there’s not going to be much of a chance here, we’re not going to get another opportunity, we’re going to send you with the reservists.
“For me, I was like, that’s right, OK, I knew right away that I wasn’t in the plans, and at that point I was thinking, well, I want to be in a club that really values me and I want to be a part of the team. I want to play first team football. I’ve taken a liking to it. I’ve played for my country, so I want to try and go from forward now.
“For me, it was the right time to leave. I spoke with the manager at the time, Thomas Tuchel, and he thought the same thing.
“In pre-season it was becoming more and more common that I was going to leave. I didn’t see many opportunities in the first team, so I made the decision and said: “OK, I want to move on now and do what’s best for me”, and that was to be in a club that appreciates me.
“I want to play football, I really want to settle down and try to find a house and a home and be here and give it my all.”
With 22 senior appearances for Chelsea under his belt, Brighton bought Gilmour for £9 million later that summer, with the midfielder racking up as many games for the Seagulls as he did for the Blues.
He provided three assists during that time, while helping the club qualify for the Europa League for the first time last season, and he has started three of Brighton’s games this season.
Meanwhile, Chelsea dropped to 12th place in the Premier League last season and have had a slow start to this one as well, securing just one win so far.
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