Chelsea starlet Islam Feruz is hoping to break into the club’s senior ranks sooner rather than later after a rapid rise to prominence in west London.
The 16-year-old left newly-crowned Scottish champions Celtic back in September, sensing an opportunity to further his career south of the border with one of the Premier League’s top sides.
And, after watching the Blues senior side claim FA Cup and Champions League honours during his first season at the club, Feruz is eager to get involved at first-team level as quickly as possible.
“Being at Chelsea has been brilliant for me. I feel I’ve improved as a player a lot. I’ve learned so much about my game and my technique is better,” he told The Sun.
“I’ve also had chances to train with the first team alongside all the top players, guys like Drogba and John Terry. Didier has given me a lot of advice lately, so I’d say he was my favourite player at the club.
“It’s a big disappointment for me that he’s decided to leave, but he’s been brilliant for Chelsea and everyone wishes him well.
“Didier’s been the player I’ve most looked up to. He helped me settle into the club and taught me how to deal with all the pressure. My former agent is friends with him and that worked out for me early on.”
The youngest player to ever represent Scotland’s U21 side, Feruz admits he was somewhat star-struck when first arriving at Stamford Bridge, taking time to settle in and find his feet at the club.
However, a string of impressive performances for both the youth and reserve teams – including a stunning goal against Manchester United in the FA Youth Cup semi-final – have helped settle the nerves and also shoot the player to prominence.
“At first when I joined Chelsea I was a bit star-struck. I was very quiet, very shy and I kept myself to myself,” Feruz admitted.
“But while we’ve got plenty of top names in the first-team squad, a lot of them are very humble. They aren’t big time. They care about the youth players and help them as much as possible.
“A lot of them have told me to speak to them if I need help or advice. John and Didier were among the first ones. They made it clear if I ever had any problems I was to go to them.
“Everything about Chelsea is great. I’ve been at the club now for seven months and I’ve loved it. At the moment I play for the reserves, but my dream is to play for the first team.
“I’ll hopefully get there in a year or two. I definitely feel I can make that breakthrough.”