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Scotland boss Steve Clarke resists urge to fast-track Chelsea star Billy Gilmour

Scotland manager Steve Clarke is content to leave Billy Gilmour in the under-21 set-up for now despite the clamour for the Chelsea midfielder to be involved in the Euro 2020 play-offs.

The 18-year-old has been included in Scot Gemmill’s pool for European qualifiers against Croatia and Greece later this month, while Clarke’s team take on Israel for the right to face Norway or Serbia for a place in the European Championship finals.

Gilmour has 12 under-21 caps and there were calls for the midfielder to be fast-tracked after he won man-of-the-match awards on his first FA Cup start and full Premier League debut.

Gemmill said: “He’s done excellently for all of the national youth groups and moving forward I’m very confident he will get to play for the full squad as well but at the moment he’s an under-21 player until Steve Clarke decides otherwise.

Billy Gilmour, second from right, is an under-21 regular

Billy Gilmour, second from right, is an under-21 regular (PA)

“I spoke to Steve, met Steve and right now Steve is happy for Billy to be selected for the under-21s. But, as is the same for all the players, at any moment that can change.

“The last time we played Steve called and took Ryan Porteous. It’s the same for all the players, it can happen to them at any time and we have a big responsibility to make that happen for them and help that happen for them.”

Porteous was called up after injuries to fellow centre-backs and it appears likely Gilmour will be given game time with Gemmill’s squad unless there are call-offs in midfield.

Clarke is able to call upon the likes of Scott McTominay, Callum McGregor, Kenny McLean, Ryan Christie, Ryan Jack and John Fleck in central midfield with Aston Villa’s John McGinn back in training following a fractured ankle.

Steve Clarke has a strong midfield

Steve Clarke has a strong midfield (PA)

Former Rangers academy player Gilmour has excited the Scotland coaching staff for several years and Gemmill was delighted to see him justify that faith against Liverpool and Everton over the past week.

“Billy’s recent performances have, in my opinion, gone a huge way to confirming his talent that we have all spoken about,” Gemmill said.

“We have all got an opinion on young players and who is going to get to what level but until the player actually gets given an opportunity, it’s just talk.

“Billy has stepped up. He has been given an opportunity at a fantastic level, a fantastic club, his manager has been unbelievable for him to give him that opportunity and in my opinion Billy has gone a big, big way to confirm that potential that we have all spoken about for so long.”

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Gilmour won high praise from manager Frank Lampard and some well-respected pundits with Roy Keane claiming he looked “world class.” And Gemmill believes the teenager can handle the attention.

“To this moment in time, Billy has shown he has got the emotional intelligence to do that,” he said. “I have praised him for how good he is off the pitch as on it.

“But this is a new test for him. He has to continue to push. He is only with us for a short time but his club will be doing everything they can to ensure he continues to do that. ”

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Gemmill has selected seven uncapped players – Rangers pair Kieran Wright and Lewis Mayo, Celtic defender Stephen Welsh, Hearts midfielders Lewis Moore and Andy Irving, Dundee United forward Louis Appere and Hibernian striker Jamie Gullan.

Motherwell midfielder Allan Campbell could not be included because he picked up an injury on Saturday but Gemmill hopes to have him available ahead of the Tynecastle clash with Croatia on March 27.

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