|Date of birth||10 September 1995|
|Height||1.63 m (5 ft 4 in)|
(on loan from Chelsea)
|2014–2015||→ OFI Crete (loan)||1||(0)|
|2015–||→ Blackpool (loan)||2||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23:14, 24 January 2015 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
Islam Feruz (born 10 September 1995) is a Scottish professional footballer who plays as a centre forward for Championship club Blackpool on loan from Chelsea. He is yet to make a competitive appearance for the Chelsea first team, having mostly represented the team at U21 level in recent seasons.
Feruz spent most of his youth career with Scottish Premier League team Celtic, but later moved to Chelsea in September 2011 after rejecting a professional contract with the Scottish club. 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 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.
Feruz scored two goals in Chelsea's 6–0 win over Molde FK on 8 November 2012 in the NextGen Series. He has had a rather successful run with the club; Chelsea's official website describes Feruz 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 a long-term contract with Chelsea.
Loan to OFI Crete
Loan to Blackpool
On 16 January 2015, Feruz joined Championship side Blackpool for the remainder of the season after an unsuccessful loan spell at OFI Crete. He made his Blackpool debut in a 2–0 defeat, coming off the bench against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
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.
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.
- "Islam Feruz". scottishfa.co.uk (Scottish Football Association). Retrieved 19 April 2012.
- "Who is Islam Feruz... the young Chelsea striker interesting Cardiff City?". WalesOnline. 31 December 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
- Donohoe, Graeme (15 October 2009). "Gangs would turn up with weapons, come into your home and take everything... we were always scared". The Scottish Sun (News Group Newspapers). Retrieved 27 June 2012.
- Friel, David (29 May 2012). "I'm OUT". The Scottish Sun (News Group Newspapers). Retrieved 27 June 2012.
- "Young Film-maker Charts Histories". Perthshire Advertiser (Scottish & Universal Newspapers). 7 May 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
- "Young Scot Awards 2010: Night of tears and joy as inspiring youngsters celebrate". Sunday Mail (Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail). 2 May 2010. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
- "Richard Bath: 'Islam Feruz is taking the same route to sporting stardom as Mo Farah'". The Scotsman (Johnston Publishing). 6 August 2010. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
- "Celtic likely to lose talented Islam Feruz – Neil Lennon". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 17 August 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
- Forsyth, Roddy (16 October 2009). "Progress and potential of Islam Feruz is something for Scotland to celebrate". telegraph.co.uk (Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 18 April 2012.
- Walker, Michael (22 October 2009). "Scotland's symbol of hope: How 14-year-old Feruz went from refugee to a star in the making". Daily Mail. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
- Law, Gareth (25 January 2011). "Hoops in fight for kid Feruz". The Scottish Sun (News Group Newspapers). Retrieved 19 April 2012.
- Roberts, Chris (31 October 2009). "I knew Islam Feruz was special after just 20 minutes, says Celtic youth coach John Sludden". Daily Record (Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail). Retrieved 18 April 2012.
- "Chelsea's Islam Feruz, 16, may make Scotland U21 debut". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 17 April 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
- "Islam Feruz exit to Chelsea disappoints Celtic's Johan Mjallby". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 27 September 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
- "Islam Feruz's Scottish link on shaky ground". The Scotsman (Johnston Publishing). 30 May 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
- Forsyth, Roddy (26 September 2011). "Neil Lennon claims teenage prodigy Islam Feruz was badly advised to quit Celtic for Chelsea". telegraph.co.uk (Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 19 April 2012.
- "Ricky Sbragia insists Islam Feruz is set to return for Scotland after year-long absence". The Scotsman (Johnston Publishing). 16 March 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
- "Islam Feruz Set To Leave Celtic To Join Chelsea – Report". Goal.com. 16 August 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
- "UNDER-19S REPORT: CHELSEA 6 MOLDE 0". Chelsea FC. 8 November 2012.
- "CHELSEA ACADEMY ARTICLE: ISLAM FERUZ". Chelsea FC. 22 January 2013.
- "Chelsea youngster Islam Feruz agrees new contract". Sky Sports. 20 January 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
- "Season loan for Feruz". Chelsea F.C. 1 September 2014.
- "Chelsea striker Islam Feruz trains with Cardiff City". BBC Sport. 5 January 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
- "Feruz loaned to Blackpool". Chelsea F.C. 16 January 2015.
- "Report: Wolves 2 Blackpool 0". Blackpool F.C. 17 January 2015.
- "Feruz, 14, won’t be fazed by Scotland debut, says Mathie". The Press and Journal (Aberdeen Journals). 20 September 2009. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
- Forsyth, Roddy (17 April 2012). "Islam Feruz set to become Scotland's history boy". telegraph.co.uk (Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 17 April 2012.
- "Feruz bags hat-trick as Scotland U19s win Euro group". scottishfa.co.uk (Scottish Football Association). 14 October 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
- "Islam Feruz 'can be Scots' top striker', says Mark Wotte". BBC Sport. BBC. 15 October 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- "Chelsea starlet Islam Feruz turns his back on playing for Scotland... after SFA chief changed the rules so that he could". Mail Daily. Daily Mail. 22 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014.