Brighton midfielder stepping into role left by soon-to-be Chelsea star and Liverpool playmaker
It was Brighton’s first game since rounding off their historic 2022/2023 season at Villa Park in May and Gilmour told the club’s official website he was happy to be back out on the pitch wearing the blue and white stripes.
Gilmour said: “It was an enjoyable game to be a part of. Good to be back playing football. This is our first game of pre-season, so we will try and take the positives and work on stuff.”
It was action-packed game at the Lincoln Financial Field, with seven goals and a red card in Mauricio Pochettino’s first game as Chelsea boss. Danny Welbeck’s far post header gave Albion an early lead, but was quickly cancelled out by Christopher Nkunku’s first goal for the club.
Jan Paul van Hecke’s sending off allowed the Blues to take control; thanks to goals from Mykhailo Mudryk, Conor Gallagher and Nicholas Jackson. Brighton refused to go down easy and netted two late consolation goals through Joao Pedro and Deniz Undav.
Despite the result, Gilmour said Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi was happy with the performance of his players.
The Scottish international said: “At the final whistle he was happy at how we had played. I thought we played really well during the game, in both halves. The red card interrupted our play, but we dug in and got two goals back.”
Gilmour had a difficult first season at the Amex Stadium last term, having joined the club from Chelsea for £7m last summer. The 22-year-old found himself on the bench most weeks behind Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo.
Towards the end of the season, the midfielder saw more first-team opportunities presented to him as the squad found themselves regularly playing three games a week. Gilmour provided a number of stand-out performances in this period, most notably in a 6-0 demolition of Wolves and memorable 1-0 victory against Manchester United.
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Following the sale of Mac Allister to Liverpool and expected transfer of Caicedo to Chelsea, Gilmour will be hoping to play a more prominent role in De Zerbi’s starting eleven from August and is confident he can make a positive impact on the side, as the squad prepares to play in the Europa League for the first time ever.
He said: “I’m looking forward to this season. Towards the end I grew into the game. I started to get more appearances and playing well. It was a more enjoyable end to the season, so I want to continue that into this season.”