|Full name||Islam Salieh Feruz|
|Date of birth||10 September 1995|
|Place of birth||Somali, Somalia|
|Height||1.63 m (5 ft 4 in)|
(on loan from Chelsea)
|2014||→ OFI Crete (loan)||1||(0)|
|2015||→ Blackpool (loan)||2||(0)|
|2015–||→ Hibernian (loan)||5||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22 November 2015.
Feruz spent most of his youth career with Scottish Premier League team Celtic, and later to Chelsea in September 2011 after rejecting a professional contract with the Scottish club. He is yet to make a competitive appearance for the Chelsea first team, having mostly represented the team at U21 level in recent seasons. He spent the 2014–15 season on loan at Greek club OFI Crete, and Blackpool.
A resident of Scotland and naturalised citizen of the United Kingdom, Feruz declared in 2009 that he would play for the Scotland national football team, and has represented the country at several youth levels.
Feruz was born in Somali, Somalia in 1995. He was raised by his mother Aisha and stepfather Albashir Ali. He has three sisters: Kauthar, Ethil and Rahma. Wales Online and The Scottish Sun indicate that there is some uncertainty about his childhood and background.
According to Feruz's mother, the family moved to Yemen in 2001 to escape violence, and from there sought asylum in the United Kingdom. However, articles appearing in the Perthshire Advertiser and Sunday Mail report that the family lived in Tanzania before emigrating directly to the UK.
The family initially moved to London when Feruz was aged five, before later re-locating to Glasgow. There, he attended Hillhead High School, one of the most diverse secondary schools in Scotland. He and his family originally lived in a high-rise flat in Castlemilk, but Feruz later moved them to an upscale area in Glasgow's Charing Cross.
At age 10, Celtic fan Feruz was discovered by Celtic youth coach John Simpson while playing a kickabout at Castlemilk Sports Centre, and joined Celtic's youth academy. Feruz was playing in Celtic's under-14 team at age 11. The team's manager John Sludden said that after only 20 minutes he could tell Feruz was a special player and compared his talent to that of Paul McStay, Charlie Nicholas and Aiden McGeady. When Feruz was aged 12, he and his family were threatened with deportation back to his country of birth. Celtic youth coach Tommy Burns successfully campaigned for them to be able stay in Scotland, and for the Feruzes to be granted British passports.
Feruz's first match for Celtic came in 2009 when, aged 14, he made an appearance in Tommy Burns' memorial match. In January 2011, it was reported that Manchester City had held talks with Feruz when he was in the city for an international match. At the start of the 2011–12 season, there was speculation that Feruz was going to leave the club for Chelsea. Celtic manager Neil Lennon said in August that he had not seen the player since the start of the season. He also expressed his disappointment that a player who Celtic had helped to stay in the country and moved into an expensive flat was possibly going to leave the club. However, he did not blame Feruz but his agents, who he felt were "badly advising" the player, for the situation.
Feruz moved to English Premier League club Chelsea in September 2011, after rejecting a professional contract at Celtic. Because of "a flaw in the legal system" Chelsea were able to sign him for only £300,000 compensation. His contract was reportedly worth £2,500 a week. He scored two goals in the 2012 FA Youth Cup first leg in April 2012 as Chelsea youths went on to win the trophy for the second time in three years.
Chelsea's official website described Feruz in early 2013 as "short but sharp with an electric turn of pace and able to get a shot in early."
Feruz made his Chelsea first team debut against a Malaysia League XI on 21 July 2013 coming on as a substitute in the 32nd minute for Kevin De Bruyne but after half time he was replaced by André Schürrle.
In January 2014, he signed a new long-term contract with Chelsea.
Loan to OFI Crete
On 1 September 2014, Feruz signed a season-loan deal with Superleague Greece club OFI Crete, managed by Gennaro Gattuso. Twelve days later he made his only league appearance for the team, replacing Mayron George for the final 28 minutes of a 3–0 defeat to Olympiacos at the Karaiskakis Stadium. On 24 September he made his first career start in a 1–1 Greek Football Cup away draw at Zakynthos, being replaced by Andreas Lampropoulos after 62 minutes. His only other game was also in the Cup group stages, starting at the Theodoros Vardinogiannis Stadium in a 1–0 win over Skoda Xanthi on 30 October and making way for eventual goalscorer George at half time.
Loan to Blackpool
After training with Championship side Cardiff City earlier that month, on 16 January 2015, Feruz joined another team in that division, Blackpool, for the remainder of the season. He made his Blackpool debut in a 2–0 defeat away to Wolverhampton Wanderers the following day, replacing Steve Davies for the final 8 minutes at the Molineux Stadium. A week later he made the only other appearance of his loan, again replacing Davies at the same point in a 7–2 defeat to Watford at Vicarage Road. Blackpool ended the season with relegation to League One.
Loan to Hibernian
On 1 September 2015, Feruz signed a season-loan deal with Scottish Championship club Hibernian. He made his debut seven days later, coming on as a 72nd-minute substitute for Liam Henderson during a 3–0 win at Easter Road against Alloa Athletic.
Although he was born abroad and has no Scottish heritage, Feruz is able to play for Scotland under the new school qualification rule, which allows players with five years of education in a country before the age of 18 to play for that country's national football team. In 2009, Feruz declared that he would play for the Scotland national football team. He was the first footballer to switch to Scotland under this rule, a change in FIFA's guidelines which Scottish Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith had pursued to accommodate players in Feruz's position.
In September 2009, Feruz was called up to the Scotland under-17 team at only 14 years of age. He scored on his debut against Cyprus. In April 2012, he was called up to the Scotland under-21 team aged 16, for a match against Italy. The cap would make him the youngest player ever to feature for Scotland U21s.
After turning in a poor performance at an Under-20 tournament in the Netherlands in May 2012, Feruz attracted some controversy when he tweeted that he "would love to play in the African Nation Cup! Despite being eligible to play for 2 African countries other than Som :P MyDream!!! :D". The Scottish Sun reported that the two unnamed national teams in Africa alluded to in the message are understood to be Tanzania and Zanzibar. According to The Scotsman, unverified reports suggest that Feruz could play for these two nations due to family connections. His Twitter account was closed on 29 May, following "encouragement for him to do so from Chelsea."
On 14 October 2012, Feruz scored a hat-trick for the Scotland Under-19 team in a 4–3 victory against Switzerland, with Scotland winning their qualification group. Speaking after that game, Scottish FA performance chief Mark Wotte stated his belief that Feruz could be a top striker for the full national team. Stepping up to the U21s again in November 2012, Feruz scored twice for Scotland in a 3–2 defeat away against the Portugal Under-21 side.
On 22 May 2014, after Feruz turned down multiple call ups at youth level it was reported that Feruz had turned his back on representing Scotland, but SFA representatives refused to rule out him returning to the fold in future. In August 2015, Feruz denied having turned his back on Scotland, stating "I've never said I didn't want to be considered for Scotland", adding "Some of the things which have been said about me not wanting to play have been untrue. I want to play for Scotland and I'll be honoured if I'm selected. I’m proud to have played for the national team at different age groups."
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