Chelsea's Islam Feruz turns his back on Scotland

Scotland Football

Islam Feruz has been representing Scotland under-21’s but has turned down a number of squad invitations of late.

One of the brightest of Chelsea’s brightest young stars is Islam Feruz, who has been starring at age-grade level for the west London club over the last 12 months.

The young attacker caused a stir when he jumped ship at Celtic to join the Stamford Bridge outfit in 2011 and has progressed in the Premier League side’s youth teams since.

Feruz and his family moved to Scotland from Yemen when he was ten seeking asylum and he has represented Scotland at under-16 through to under-21 level.

Now only 18, Feruz played for Scotland under-17’s as at 14 and got his first-ever Scotland under-21 cap as a 16-year-old.

However, with Scotland listing the teenager in recent under-21 squads but not getting a response, it appears that Feruz has turned his back on the Celtic nation.

SFA chief executive Gordon Smith has claimed that Feruz’s decision to quit Scotland has not come as a major surprise.

“He is a real talent, of that there is no doubt,” Smith told The Daily Mail.

“There’s a reason he was capped at age groups several steps beyond his actual years – he is a great talent.

“But I felt his attitude was wrong when he left Celtic, to be honest. Celtic did a lot for him, helped his family, helped him enormously.

“I felt it was a slap in the face, leaving Celtic the way he did and throwing in his lot with Chelsea. I was personally disappointed with that, because I thought he should have shown more loyalty.

“With that in mind, I’m not really surprised that he’s done the same thing to Scotland – although I find it hard to understand why he’s done it.”

Smith went on to say that the nation have done all they can to make Feruz wear their colours – and that a switch to England is not allowed by Fifa at this stage.

“Just like Celtic did a lot for him, Scotland did a great deal for him and his family,” he continued.

“On a football level, we gave him an opportunity to express himself in international football, getting great experience and benefiting his career prospects enormously.

“You can’t tell me it didn’t help him. On top of that, his family came to Scotland as refugees and were treated well.

“If he doesn’t want to play for Scotland, well, you just have to accept it. The one thing you need at international level is motivation on the part of the individual.

“People have to be fired up and want to play for their country, to feel pride in the jersey – to feel like they belong to the country and have a stake in its success.

“If you’ve got someone - like Islam Feruz – who doesn’t want to play for Scotland, the only option is to reject him immediately. If he cannot commit to playing for this country, we shouldn’t have anything to do with him.

“I don’t know what he is thinking now because, under the rules, he cannot play for any other Home Nation, so it’s not as if he can play for England.”

Feruz starred for Chelsea under-21’s in their Premier League final win over Manchester United last week.

Instead of turning out for Scotland under-21’s, the teenager is in Hong Kong for the HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens – playing for Chelsea.

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