Biting The Hand That Fed Him

27 September 2011 10:07
Neil Lennon feels Islam Feruz has been ill-advised

Neil Lennon admits that there was nothing Celtic could do to persuade Islam Feruz to stay at Celtic. The Somalian-born Scotland youth international has long been considered to be the jewel in the crown of Celtic's academy. However, despite the club falling over themselves to keep Feruz, the youngster decided to call it quits in Glasgow and head for the bright lights of London and sign a five-year deal with Chelsea. Lennon admits he is still disappointed at losing Feruz, who he had lined up to train with the first team this season. Lennon says Feruz ignored pleas from himself and chief executive Peter Lawwell to stay at Parkhead. Lennon said: "I told him he would be part of the development team this season and be pushing for a place in the first-team squad. Peter and I met with Islam's representatives, and I use that term loosely, but there was no going back on their part. Islam also became different in his demeanour and personality. We've tried everything with him, boardroom meetings, bringing in our youth team coach Chris McCart, asking his family to join in the discussions. The lot. I was waiting for an offer coming in from Islam's representatives but nothing ever materialised. The whole business has been badly handled and he has been poorly advised. Islam would have had more chance to progress at Celtic than Stamford Bridge. James Forrest is a perfect example of what can be achieved. But the people acting for Islam are not as professional as other agents I've dealt with." After taking so much care of Feruz and his family, Lennon feels the club have been treated badly in the whole affair, adding: "Celtic have looked after Islam and his family very well but it's obvious his head has been turned. We've done all we can to keep him here but I haven't seen him since the start of pre-season training. We took him and his family out of what you might call a rough housing estate and put them into a nice flat in the West End of Glasgow. We did all we could to make life here as easy as possible for him. We even had him training with the first team for the final few months of last season. Islam was going along very nicely with us and had a good agent in John Colquhoun. Then the boy let somebody take over his future. His attitude changed dramatically and his attitude towards the club changed dramatically. Yet our club had been so good to him."