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Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Tuesday, 13 October 2009 17:47 UK

Scotland select teen talent Feruz

Islam Feruz
Feruz was born in Somalia and came to Glasgow when he was seven-years-old

Celtic's Somali-born forward Islam Feruz has become the first player to be selected for Scotland under the new schooling rule.

The 14-year-old has been called for this month's Uefa Under-17 Championship qualifier with Cyprus at East End Park.

Feruz has lived in Scotland for seven years and is eligible under a new UK ruling, recently ratified by Fifa.

"Scotland is a great country which is now my home and I will be very proud to wear the Scotland jersey," said Feruz.

Fifa gave its approval to an agreement that permits a British passport holder who has been educated for at least five years in one of the Home Nations to play for that country.

Islam is a talented boy who has worked hard. He did not move to Scotland seeking to play international football.

SFA chief executive Gordon Smith

Scottish Football Association chief executive Gordon Smith welcomed the first application of the ruling and emphasised that the move was prompted by the youngster's desire to continue playing his football in Scotland.

"Islam is a fine example of the type of person that this new rule is designed to benefit," said Smith.

"The rule reflects the changes to our society in recent years, and is designed to promote social inclusion in football.

"Islam is a talented boy who has worked hard. He did not move to Scotland seeking to play international football.

"His family made their home here for their own reasons, and having grown up here, Islam regards himself as Scottish."

Scotland international youth team coach Ross Mathie echoed Smith's comments and singled out Feruz as a future talent in the Scotland setup.

"I've known about Islam since his first involvement with the Celtic youth squads, and I've long been an admirer of his technical ability and prowess in front of goal," said Mathie.

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"I know his new international team-mates will be delighted that he has committed himself to Scotland, and they will look forward to playing with someone of his ability."

Celtic fans were given a glimpse of Feruz last season when he featured in a tribute match in honour of the late Celtic hero Tommy Burns, who died in May.

"Since my family and I came to Scotland seven years ago, we have been made to feel very welcome," the teenager told his club's website.

"I will be working hard to do all I can to do my best for Scotland and make the most of this opportunity."



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see also
Driver to wait for Scotland call
13 Oct 09 |  Hearts
Dorman is now eligible for Wales
13 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Strachan return for Burns tribute
31 May 09 |  Celtic


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