Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke maintains he is not under any extra pressure to give Billy Gilmour game time in the Premier League – but backed the on-loan Chelsea midfielder to prove himself at the top level.
Gilmour impressed for Scotland during the international break, helping Steve Clarke’s squad follow up a dramatic 3-2 stoppage-time win over Israel at Hampden Park with a battling victory away to the Faroe Islands.
The 20-year-old has started four Premier League games for the Canaries since completing a season-long loan from the Blues, but was an unused substitute for both the defeat at Everton and the goalless draw at Burnley when Norwich picked up a first point of the campaign.
Farke, though, rejected suggestions there was any extra focus on giving Gilmour and fellow loanee Brandon Williams additional match action unless based on merit.
“There is no pressure (to play them). We are not here to develop players for other clubs, we are here to win points for this club,” said Farke, whose bottom-of-the-table side host Brighton on Saturday.
“It is not about Billy Gilmour, about Brandon Williams (on loan from Manchester United), Kenny McLean or Temmu Pukki who are our players – we just like to play with the players to win points.
“This is also the challenge our loan players want to have – it is not like they want to play just because we have loaned them and they (parent clubs) want them to play many games.”
Farke added: “Of course we have shown a lot that we can develop young players, help them to find the next step, if they are our own players or loan players, like (Tottenham midfielder) Oliver Skipp, who is right now playing at a different level.
“Also the big clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea, they do not want it easy for their players. They want to be Manchester United, Chelsea or Tottenham players one day, so they need to face a challenge and step up to it.”
Farke, though, remains convinced Gilmour – who recovered from contracting Covid-19 during Euro 2020 – has all the attributes needed to carve out a successful career.
“Billy is a fantastic player, a fantastic human being and of course he wants to play each and every second,” the Norwich boss said. If you love football, you love Billy Gilmour because this guy is a baller, but he is also a young lad and we have to look after him.
“It is not always that easy for him with the hype in his own country, with lots of praise for him. I think he has a good mindset and works hard on the pitch. He has unbelievable potential.”
Mathias Normann is expected to be available after not joining up with Norway to manage a minor abdominal issue while Kosovo winger Milot Rashica (knee) is also not a major concern following his return from international duty.
Farke hopes Norwich can build on their goalless draw at Burnley to kickstart a campaign which had opened with six straight league defeats.
“We had a good step with a first clean sheet and are off the mark,” he said. “We are eager now for the first win of the season, but are concentrating on taking it step by step.
“Brighton have had a good start and it will be a difficult task, but we are in good shape.”