‘The Boy Has Got Skills’ – Chelsea’s Islam Feruz

Islam FeruzAged just six, Islam Feruz was forced to leave war-torn Somalia and fled to Scotland as an illegal immigrant.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I was six years old I only had two issues in my life that needed to be assessed.

One was whether my Dinosaur Tamagotchi was getting enough nutrients out of the vegetation I was feeding him, and the second was whether he’d had a nice day in the park.

I struggle to imagine the mindset of a child who has been forced from his home due to conflict, and is forced into a Country where realistically he’s not even allowed to be.

The reality of an impending deportation case loomed over the Feruz family, as they tried to block out painful memories of their war-torn homes.

What came next however, was like something out of a feel-good family movie.

The late great Tommy Burns, who was coaching Celtic at the time,  apparently saw Feruz playing football in a Scottish park a few years later.

And It’s believed that Burns himself asked the Foreign Office to let the boy and his family stay in the Country.

Just four years later young Islam Feruz was again on the radars of the Scottish giants.

This time Celtic coach, John Simpson, invited 10-year old Feruz for a trial at the club after seeing him play at Castlemilk sports centre.

It was a chance that Feruz most certainly took in Glasgow as the youngster made quite the name for himself at Celtic U19 level.

So much so in fact that he even earned himself a call up to the Scottish U17 squad for their qualifier against Cyprus when he was aged just 14-years old.

It came as a shock to many, not because of the players ability, but because they were unaware that Feruz was eligible to play for Scotland.

It was later revealed that although he had no direct Scottish heritage, Feruz was able to play for the Tartan Army under the new qualification rule, which allows players with five years of compulsory education in a country to play for that country.

Despite the fact that Celtic had helped Feruz stay in the country, and had even put him up in an expensive flat during his time at the club, Celtic were set to be stabbed in the back by the player.

At the start of the 2011/2012 season there were rumours that Feruz was paving the way for a move away from the club, Chelsea set to be the intended destination.

Feruz later moved to Stamford Bridge on a deal said to be worth up to £2,500 per week, after rejecting a deal from the Scottish club.

Later on Neil Lennon voiced his disappointment over the move but blamed his agents for the situation rather than the player.

It wasn’t even a good move for Celtic in a financial sense, as a legal loophole allowed them to secure the signing of Feruz for just £300,000’s worth of compensation.

Since the move Feruz hasn’t looked back, and his explosive pace has seen him become a strong part of the Chelsea youth teams.

Arguably his best performance came when playing in the 2012 FA Youth Cup in April of last year.

The young striker notched himself a brace in the game and the club later went on to win the trophy for the second time in three years.

He also scored a brace in this seasons NextGen series against Molde.

His goals helped them beat the Norwegian side an impressive 6-0, with the Chelsea official website describing him as ‘short but sharp, with an electric turn of pace and an ability to get a shot in early’.

After overcoming some big hurdles in his life it seems that Islam Feruz has what it takes to become the latest in a long list of Premier League youngsters.

He’s even seemingly got a lack of loyalty, something that’s a pretty big issue in today’s game.

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