Billy Gilmour, on loan from Norwich, returns to Stamford Bridge to check an ankle injury.

Billy Gilmour, a Norwich midfielder presently on loan from Chelsea, has returned to his home club in London for an ankle injury assessment, Dean Smith said.

Smith delivered an update on Gilmour’s fitness during a news conference before of his side’s trip to West Ham on Wednesday, but also stated that he did not expect Gilmour’s loan term will be cut short.

‘Billy has a high ankle (sprain) issue, which will likely sideline him for three to four weeks,’ he explained.

‘He returned to Chelsea today for them to evaluate it, but he should be back in a few days for therapy and rehab.’

The Scottish international has been a consistent performer for Norwich during Smith’s tenure at the club, and when questioned if Gilmour’s loan might be terminated early, Smith maintained ‘no, I don’t believe so. I believe the harm is not severe enough for that.’

‘I believe it is an injury for which Chelsea will examine him and then return him to us. Hopefully, he’ll be back on the field within the next three weeks,’ he continued.

The teenager is expected to miss the remainder of Norwich’s January fixtures, joining Mathias Normann (pelvis), Lukas Rupp (hamstring), and Andrew Omobamidele (back) on the injured list.

Gilmour, 20, was absent from Norwich’s FA Cup victory against Charlton on Sunday and was singled out for criticism by a tiny part of the Norwich crowd following Norwich’s 3-0 defeat at Crystal Palace last month.

Norwich had have a difficult season due to injuries and Covid-19 cases, and were missing 11 players for their last 2021 match.

Tim Krul, Grant Hanley, Milot Rashica, and Teemu Pukki all returned in the 1-0 victory over Charlton, snapping a five-match losing record that includes a 5-0 hammering by Arsenal on Boxing Day.

Dean Smith said that ‘context and perspective should be applied to some outcomes’ and that he believed’some of the criticism leveled at a handful of our results was excessive.’

‘I’m sure it’s similar for a lot of other teams as well, but it’s difficult enough to win games with your best XI out there in your first season back, much alone with 10 or 11 players out – eight of whom are almost certainly starts,’ Smith explained.

‘I believe we have been unduly criticized in the previous three (league) games,’ Smith remarked.

‘I believe that there is a degree of ignorance regarding the football club among those who live outside Norfolk and Norwich. When I consider Liverpool last season, they were battling to finish in the top four.

‘They lost (Virgil) Van Dijk, Alisson Becker, Joe Gomez, and a few more. We played three games in which we were essentially annihilated as a team.’

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