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Macleod sings praises of 'outstanding' Feruz

Lewis Macleod is the latest fully paid-up member of the the Islam Feruz fan club.

The Rangers youngster is one of several highly rated prospects who have been promoted from Ricky Sbragia's successful Under-19 squad for tomorrow's friendly in Portugal, with Billy Stark, the usual Under-21 manager, in temporary charge of the senior squad following Craig Levein's sacking.

Macleod and former Celtic forward Feruz are graduates from the recent European mini-tournament which in which the impressive young Scots won games against Romania, Switzerland and Armenia, to book their place in the Elite Round of the Eirpean Championships.

The highlight of the tournament was Feruz's perfect hat trick against the Swiss in Falkirk with his left foot, right foot and head.

Having witnessed that performance at first hand, Macleod is convinced the Somalian-born 17-year-old can live up to the hype.

"Islam is a brilliant player and I think that game where he scored the hat trick showed why Chelsea signed him," he said. "The three goals he scored that night were different class. You can see he is an outstanding performer in training. He is key to the team when we play in the Euros. If he keeps playing the way he did in the qualifiers then he has a very big future ahead of him.

"He is not the biggest but he is strong and quick. He is quick with the ball too and he has got everything you want from a striker. He is a really good player with a bit of Scottish cockiness as well."

Macleod has impressed himself this season and has become an integral figure as Rangers have begun to put their early season travails behind them. However, he admits he didn't expect to be playing such a key role.

He said: "I am surprised at the number of games I have played because at the start of the season I was hoping for the odd sub appearance. But the gaffer has put faith in me and I am delighted with that.

"I think it helps having youngsters in the team because we have played together through the youth system. It helps with the confidence playing with guys you know so well.

"The coaches have given me a lot of confidence and the older players like Lee McCulloch have helped."

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