Islam Feruz signing a challenge for Hibs, says Mark Wotte

Islam Feruz and Jonjo Shelvey
Feruz playing for Scotland Under-21s against England in 2013

Former SFA performance director Mark Wotte says Hibs are taking a "gamble" by signing Islam Feruz but insists the forward can be "an outstanding player".

Former Celtic youth Feruz, 19, has joined Hibs on a season-long loan from Chelsea.

The Scotland Under-21 cap has only made a handful of appearances in loan spells at other clubs.

"It's now time for him to show his real pace and what he's capable of," Wotte told BBC Scotland.

"It's the attitude that is causing problems all the time. So, if he matures to a level that he will score a goal every game then suddenly he's a fantastic striker.

"It's a big gamble for Hibs to sign a player like Islam Feruz but it's also a fantastic challenge because he's an extraordinary player by ability and agility and his awareness as well.

Mark Wotte
Wotte (right) left his role with the SFA last year after three years in post

"It's a big question mark above his head.

"I've seen him excelling for Scotland Under-19s, where he scored a goal every game. I saw him in a friendly against Portugal Under-21s where he scored two goals in half-an-hour.

"You could see the potential of the player but until now his career is very, very average and he has not performed on first-team level, ever.

"So, for him it's also a very big challenge, not only for Hibs and for [manager] Alan Stubbs but also for Islam Feruz. He has to show that he can be an outstanding player and that he is also a team player."

Wotte believes managing talent into the first team "takes a special skill".

"It is a very rare skill if you look at what is happening in the UK," explained the Dutchman.

Hibernian forward Islam Feruz
Feruz will spend the rest of the season at Easter Road

"Not a lot of youngsters make their way to the first team, they are being released. Other young players are being signed from other clubs.

"There is something not working very well in Scottish football or in English football, the door to the first team is not open for some reason.

"Whenever they are not mature yet, you have to give them a second chance, maybe a third chance without losing your credibility in the dressing room.

"When everything is going well then he (Feruz) can be an excellent player and if things are not going well, he has to work his socks off for the team.

"It's a very interesting signing for Hibs and I'm looking forward to seeing how he will perform."

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