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SFA leave door open as Feruz steps away

Islam Feruz has turned his back on Scotland.

The talented Chelsea youngster had been tipped to become a prominent figure for his adopted country but it is understood that he no longer wishes to be selected by a country he has represented from under-17 level to the under-21s.

That decision has been made public as the 18-year-old was being considered for a call-up to the Scotland Under-19 squad which will start competing in the Elite tournament in England tomorrow, or an Under-21 side which is involved in a European Championship qualifier against the Netherlands next week.

It is understood that the Scottish Football Association have contacted Feruz in an effort to convince him to change his mind. Those attempts have proven fruitless so far, although the SFA has not closed the door on his return to the fold.

The teenager - who was born in Somalia but elected to represent Scotland after joining Celtic - has not featured for a Scotland team since August, when he was substituted during a 6-0 defeat away to England at under-21 level. Feruz also withdrew from the Under-19 Elite tournament in Belgium last summer as the result of an unspecified injury.

There has been some speculation too about his prospects at Chelsea, although he did impress during last week's Under-21 Premier League final when the Stamford Bridge club won 2-1 at Old Trafford.

His family sought asylum in Scotland in 2005 and Feruz made his debut for Celtic as a 14-year-old in Tommy Burns' Memorial Match, later represented Scotland Under-17s at the same age under a new school qualification rule. The talented teenager scored a hat trick in a qualifier for Scotland Under-19s, with Mark Wotte, the SFA performance director, later insisting that Feruz could become a top player.

His career path may no longer involve Scotland, though, with Feruz having travelled instead to Hong Kong as Chelsea compete in the HKFC Citibank Soccer Sevens today, with Ricky Sbragia's Under-19s preparing to face Ukraine in Burton on Trent tomorrow.

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