Glasgow, Scotland, November 7, 2009 – Celtic
youngster Feruz, 14, last month became the first player to benefit from
a recent rule change that allows British passport holders to represent
any of the home nations, provided they have been educated in that
country for five years.
Born in Somalia, Feruz moved to Glasgow with his family seven years ago
and has since become a British citizen.
His impressive performances for Scotland Under-17s have demonstrated the
potential benefits of a rule change which was the brainchild of Smith.
Smith said: "The young lad, Islam Feruz, is a great example of what can
happen, and he might be a role model for a lot of these kids now to come
forward and get through to play for their country.
"It helps that the first one is exceptionally gifted! You never know
whether he's going to become a professional - he's still got a bit to
go. There are a lot of kids who have been special at 15 but weren't
special at 18.
"Hopefully, he's going to make it and he'll be a great example.''
Andrew Driver has unwittingly become the other poster boy for the rule
change, though Hearts' Oldham-born winger has yet to make up his mind
whether to transfer his allegiance from England.
Speaking at the official opening of Broughton High School in Edinburgh,
Smith said: "I think he's been a victim of this whole thing, because
he's being put under pressure.
"He's officially English at the moment because he played for the England
Under-21s and he'd have to change his nationality with FIFA. Why should
he even consider that unless he's going to be selected for Scotland?
"The thing we need to know about first and foremost is where his
Scotland career's going. If he comes into contention for selection then
there's a situation to consider. Until that happens, I think the boy
should be left alone.''
Driver was therefore not in the Scotland squad named by George Burley
for next Saturday's friendly in Wales.
Injured Celtic midfielders Scott Brown and Shaun Maloney were also
omitted. Neither player travelled with their club to Hamburg for the
make-or-break Europa League clash, with Brown still troubled by an ankle
problem and Maloney having suffered a heel injury.
Cardiff's Ross McCormack and Birmingham's James McFadden have both been
recalled after missing last month's friendly defeat in Japan through
injury. Fellow forward Kevin Kyle is also back in the squad after being
unable to accept a late call-up for the Japan game due to a knee
Scotland squad for the friendly with Wales at Cardiff City Stadium on
November 14 (kick-off 3pm):
Craig Gordon (Sunderland), Jamie Langfield (Aberdeen), David Marshall
(Cardiff); Christophe Berra (Wolves), Gary Caldwell (Celtic), Steven
Caldwell (Burnley), Danny Fox (Celtic), Alan Hutton (Tottenham), Stephen
McManus (Celtic), Lee Wallace (Hearts), Steven Whittaker (Rangers); Don
Cowie (Watford), Graham Dorrans (West Brom), Darren Fletcher (Manchester
United), Ross McCormack, James McFadden (Birmingham), Barry Robson
(Celtic), Kevin Thomson (Rangers); Steven Fletcher (Burnley), Kevin Kyle
(Kilmarnock), Kenny Miller (Rangers), Steven Naismith (Rangers), Derek
Source: ESPN, Scotland, Thursday, November 05, 2009